Disinfo: NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia

Summary

Russia was never an aggressor. It was always attacked by the West. […] In 1990 Germany was reunited, but NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia. Now the Cordon Sanitaire against Russia is back. Russia’s security interests must always be considered by the West.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO. The NATO enlargement was not "illegal".

NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. This promise was never made, as confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union.

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" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area". Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security and one to which Russia has also subscribed.

For similar cases, see here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: West, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Disproof

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