DISINFO: Russia had been deceived by NATO promises
The Russians felt deceived by the fact that, despite verbal promises in the 1990s, NATO was expanded eastwards in several rounds.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO enlargement.
This claim has been debunked numerous times. NATO did not make any promises not to expand into eastern and central Europe back in 1990, which was confirmed by the former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Back in 2014, Gorbachev said that “The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility”.
Declassified White House transcripts also reveal that, in 1997, Bill Clinton consistently refused Boris Yeltsin's offer of a 'gentlemen's agreement' that no former Soviet Republics would enter NATO: "I can't make commitments on behalf of NATO, and I'm not going to be in the position myself of vetoing NATO expansion with respect to any country, much less letting you or anyone else do so…NATO operates by consensus."
Furthermore, the claim about NATO "expansion" misrepresents the process of NATO enlargement. NATO does not "expand" but considers the applications of candidate countries that want to join. NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. NATO’s door has been open to new members since it was founded in 1949 – and that has never changed.
Read also related stories: NATO forgot promises not to enlarge to the East, The West promised that NATO will not move eastward, It was agreed that NATO would never accept countries that border Russia, The US and Russia had an agreement that NATO wouldn't be enlarged.