Refuting Russia’s Claims about NATO

* Russia claims that NATO has spent years trying to marginalise it internationally.

Since the early 1990s the Alliance has consistently worked to build a cooperative relationship with
Russia on areas of mutual interest, and striven towards a strategic partnership.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO began reaching out, offering
dialogue in place of confrontation, as the London NATO Summit of July 1990 made clear
(declaration here). In the following years, the Alliance promoted dialogue and cooperation by
creating new fora, the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
(EAPC), open to the whole of Europe, including Russia (PfP founding documents here and here).

As a sign of Russia’s unique role in Euro-Atlantic security, in 1997 NATO and Russia signed
the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, creating the NATO-Russia
Permanent Joint Council. . . . Far from marginalising Russia, NATO has treated it as a privileged partner.

* Russian officials say that NATO should have been disbanded at the end of the Cold War, and that
the accession of new Allies from Central and Eastern Europe undermines Russia’s security.

NATO was not disbanded after the Cold War because its members wanted to retain the bond that
had guaranteed security and stability in the transatlantic area, as the London Declaration makes
clear: “We need to keep standing together, to extend the long peace we have enjoyed these past four
decades”. Upholding the values that have always guided it, NATO became more than a powerful
military Alliance: it became a political forum for dialogue and cooperation. . . .

* Russian claims that NATO promised not to enlarge

Russian officials claim that US and German officials promised in 1990 that NATO would not expand into Eastern and Central Europe, build military infrastructure near Russia’s borders or permanently deploy troops there.

No such pledge was made, and no evidence to back up Russia’s claims has ever been produced. Should such a promise have been made by NATO as such, it would have to have been as a formal, written decision by all NATO Allies. Furthermore, the consideration of enlarging NATO came years after German reunification. This issue was not yet on the agenda when Russia claims these promises were made.

Allegations about NATO pledging not to build infrastructure close to Russia are equally inaccurate.

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