European countries need to take control of the situation in Belarus. US magazine Foreign Policy suggests that the EU will first have to actively fill the information space with statements against Lukashenko. For example, it could be recommended to accuse him of repression or electoral fraud, at the same time that a “double approach” is promoted: Europe will announce that it is ready to provide material support to Belarus during the so-called “transition period”, and to help individual political forces inside the country that “want to help the process”. The goal is to carry out a “silent” coup in the frame of the election in Belarus. The publication admits that this scenario is unlikely, so they offer an alternative. If Lukashenko refuses to deliver the government voluntarily to a pro-Western opposition successor, he will face “hard moderation measures” in the form of colossal pressuring sanctions. However, in its attempts to overthrow Lukashenko, the article says, the European Union should take into account past mistakes. Six years ago, while Brussels was negotiating free trade with Kyiv, power-hungry Ukrainian oligarchs overthrew Viktor Yanukovych, surprising the EU, causing an armed conflict and effectively interrupting the diplomatic and constructive process of rapprochement with Europe.
In the last three decades, NATO has continuously expanded eastward to Russia’s borders, despite former Secretary of State James Baker’s pledge to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that the West would not deploy troops east of reunified Germany in 1990.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that NATO had promised Russia that it would not expand to the East and that Russia has been encircled by NATO. NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision taken by NATO about putting a halt to enlargement to the East. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreements. Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed, which by definition precluded any member of the Pact joining NATO. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:
“The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it was not brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders did not bring it up either.”
Central and Eastern European countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia. NATO does not “expand”, rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries which want to join the Alliance based on their own national will. NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Read similar articles claiming that the West promised Moscow that NATO will not expand eastwards and that despite promises made to Gorbachev, NATO expanded to include former USSR and Warsaw Pact countries.