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  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the the 69th U.N. General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 26, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the the 69th U.N. General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 26, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

As tensions between Russia and the United States are at a post-Cold War high, Nato expansion to former Soviet Republics in eastern Europe is seen as part of the battle for geopolitical influence in the region.

NATO's potential expansion to Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro is viewed as “irresponsible” and a “provocation,” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"With regards to the expansion of NATO, I see it as a mistake, even a provocation in a way,” said Lavrov. "This is, in a way, an irresponsible policy that undermines the determination to build a system of equal and shared security in Europe, equal for everyone regardless of whether a country is a member of this or that bloc."

Montenegro could gain membership by the end of 2015.

"Achieved progress, with final stage of an intense and focused dialogue with NATO and the completion of reforms in the sphere of security and intelligence will put Montenegro in a phase of full and lasting political stability," said Montenegro's foreign mininster Igor Luksic earlier this month.

An ongoing political dispute with Greece is an obstacle to Macedonia's potential membership, while Bosnia's NATO Membership Action Plan has yet to be activated.

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