Disinfo: The West promised Moscow that NATO will not expand eastwards

Summary

The West promised Moscow in the course of the negotiations on German unification in 1990 that NATO will not expand eastwards. In the book, the Swiss historian Daniele Ganser also discusses NATO’s eastward expansion, although the West promised Moscow in the course of the negotiations on German unification in 1990 that it would not come to that.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that NATO had promised Russia not to expand to the East and that NATO has an aggressive agenda. NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision been 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. Also, NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense as 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. NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. See more similar disinfo cases alleging that NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East and that giving Ukraine special status is just an opportunity for NATO to expand eastwards. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that the US empire staged a secret coup in Ukraine in 2014.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: security threat, West, Anti-Russian, Encircling Russia, EU/NATO enlargement, NATO
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EU imposed sanctions after MH17 was shot down, but provided no evidence of Russia's liability

The EU imposed sanctions for the first time after the MH17 passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014 (without providing any evidence of Russia’s liability). The boycott is aimed at Russian state-owned banks, arms import and export, and the oil and gas industry.

Disproof

This is a disinformation claim about the downing of Flight MH17, for which Russia is responsible according to the international investigation, and misrepresents the history and causes of the EU’s sanctions on Russia. The first EU sanctions against Russia were introduced on 17 March 2014, before MH17 was shot down. The first bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Later, in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. The results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team are clear: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system with one missing missile returned to the Russian Federation. On May 24 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The public hearing of the criminal trial over the downing of the flight MH17 started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Persecution service is prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the MH17 crash and murdering the 298 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that the four individuals cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason, they can also be held jointly accountable for downing of flight MH17. You can find other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation on the MH17 case in our database, such as claims that JIT tampered with the evidence; that the plane was not downed by a BUK missile, but rather by a Ukrainian fighter; that the plane crash was triggered by an explosion on board; that the trial in The Hague is not justice but information warfare; that the irrefutable evidence of Russia’s innocence is being rejected; or that both the MH17 and the Skripal cases are anti-Russian provocations.

Poland is becoming more like a US and NATO hostage

The more active the United States and NATO are in stuffing Poland with new combat units and military equipment, the more Poland will be held hostage to the American and adventurous anti-Russian NATO bloc plans.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about NATO belligerence towards Russia and Russophobia.

The deployment of NATO troops in Poland increases the domestic security of Poland – two-thirds of the Poles have a positive opinion about NATO's activities.

9/11: The WTC7 building was blown up

Then comes, of course, 9/11 and that’s still a big disruption. It was annoying that the events of September 11, 2001, were not clarified. There is the opinion that WTC7 was blown up. This is based on a new study by the University of Alaska, which has really examined the building in great detail.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory, no evidence was presented. It relays a recurring narrative that suggests the US government's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 conspiracy theories have been refuted several times including by the “9-11 Commission" conducted by the US legislators. See other examples of this exact narrative here, here and here.