Disinfo: Western leaders vowed NATO would not expand eastwards


What has not been put on paper, history quickly reduces to zero - just like the promise made by then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO will not be expanding to the East.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets alleging that the West deceived the former Soviet Union and subsequently Russia by breaking its promise not to expand NATO to the East.

In reality, these claims are unsubstantiated because there is no trustworthy evidence that any Western leader ever gave assurances to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev about NATO’s pledge not to admit new members. There is no recorded or otherwise documented commitment to this effect. Gorbachev himself denied this claim in an interview in 2014:

“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. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991.”

After the Cold War, the alliance and Moscow established relations of mutual respect, which culminated in the signing of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation in 1997. Section Four of this document contains the following provision:

“The member States of NATO reiterate that they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy - and do not foresee any future need to do so.”

This phrase already mentions “new members”, to which Russia agreed back then. The document also reads:

"Provisions of this Act do not provide NATO or Russia, in any way, with a right of veto over the actions of the other nor do they infringe upon or restrict the rights of NATO or Russia to independent decision-making and action.”

It also means that Russia cannot prevent NATO from admitting new members. Likewise, Russia can enter into agreements, such as the CSTO, with other states.

Read more similar disinformation narratives, claiming that NATO pledged not to expand eastwards and that it poses a threat to Russia’s security.


  • Reported in: Issue 258
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, USSR, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, EU/NATO enlargement
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Disinfo: FT: Thanks to sanctions Russian agriculture strengthens its position in the world

The sanctions with which the West tried to stifle the Russian economy only encouraged producers, notes the Financial Times. Shortly after the restrictions, in 2017, Russia for the first time overtook the United States and Canada in wheat exports. The Kremlin's retaliatory measures and the import ban on most Western foods have given domestic producers additional stimulus.


A recurrent narrative claiming that sanctions decided after the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russian activities in Eastern Ukraine only hurt Western economies and help to develop Russian prosperity.

The Financial Times did not say this. It is clearly explained that the situation is the result of a massive investment and development plan that started 20 years ago. The sanctions decided by the US and the EU were followed by a sharp devaluation in the rouble — making exports cheaper — but the sanctions were not the only factor that determined the rate of the currency, oil prices were also to take into account. Russia;s Protective measures are not making exportations stronger as it lowers the level of competition on the national market as well as competitiveness on global markets.

Disinfo: The war in Donbas is a civil war between Ukrainians

The international community must recognise the fact that there is a civil war in Ukraine and [it must] initiate a full arms embargo against the country [Ukraine] that is killing its own citizens.


The disinformation claim above is part of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, aimed at whitewashing the Kremlin's involvement.

The Donbas war is not an internal conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.

Disinfo: Ukraine refuses to implement Minsk agreements

The results of a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his American counterpart Joe Biden confirm Kyiv’s unwillingness to implement the Minsk agreements.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

All four Minsk agreements, signed in the Belarusian capital in 2014 and 2015, first and foremost require a complete ceasefire. Ukraine has announced several ceasefires, the latest one being in July 2020, in the hope that Russia-backed separatists will do the same. However, they have been continually violating it.