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Putin says he asked about joining NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin says early on in his tenure he floated the idea of Russia joining NATO.
In a series of interviews with US film director Oliver Stone, Putin said he inquired about Russia joining the alliance when then US President Bill Clinton visited Moscow in 2000.
"During the meeting I said: 'Let's consider an option that Russia might join NATO,"' Putin recalled. "Clinton said 'Why not?' But the US delegation got very nervous."
Putin had said in an interview several months before Clinton's June 2000 visit that he wasn't opposed to Russia joining the alliance, but his comment to Stone was the first public indication of his raising the issue.
Stone conducted the interviews in 2015-17. They are to be shown on US cable channel Showtime in four parts beginning on Monday. The first two hour-long segments were made available to news media before the showing.
In the segments, Putin portrays Russia under his leadership as seeking to improve ties, but frustrated by Washington's "imperialist mentality."
Despite Putin's interest in joining NATO, in the interviews he criticised the alliance for expanding eastward to Russia's borders.
Putin defended the country's controversial law on banning dissemination to minors of "propaganda" legitimising homosexuality, saying "the reasoning behind this law is to provide children with the opportunity to grow up without impacting their consciousness."
Although there is widespread animosity toward homosexuality in Russia and authorities regularly deny gay rights activists permission to rally, Putin said "our society is liberal-minded to a great extent."
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