• NATO promised not to build infrastructure or move troops into the new Allies in Central and Eastern Europe;
  • NATO’s response to Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine violates the Founding Act;
  • NATO leaders promised at the time of German reunification that the Alliance would not expand to the East.

Nato claim: The relationship between NATO and Russia is governed by the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, agreed by NATO Allies and Russia in 1997 and reaffirmed at NATO-Russia summits in Rome in 2002, and in Lisbon in 2010. (The Founding Act can be readhere.)

In the Founding Act, the two sides agreed that: “in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces. Accordingly, it will have to rely on adequate infrastructure commensurate with the above tasks.In this context, reinforcement may take place, when necessary, in the event of defence against a threat of aggression and missions in support of peace consistent with the United Nations Charter and the OSCE governing principles, as well as for exercises consistent with the adapted CFE Treaty, the provisions of the Vienna Document 1994 and mutually agreed transparency measures. Russia will exercise similar restraint in its conventional force deployments in Europe.”

Therefore, both infrastructure and reinforcements are explicitly permitted by the Founding Act.

Prof. Vladimir Kozin:

During official negotiations with Moscow, Washington promised not to build infrastructure or deploy troops in NATO’s new member states in Central and Eastern Europe at any time during the presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev.

The US State Department has tapes of the conversations on this subject between Pres. Gorbachev and the US president at that time, assuming the records have not yet been destroyed.

There is no need to deploy any of the alliance’s additional military forces, making reference to some kind of “threat of aggression” toward NATO (apparently from Russia). The expansion of various forms of US and NATO armed forces in Eastern and Southern Europe is in conflict with the provisions of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, particularly the section on military/political issues.

The existence of any such “threats” has not been confirmed by either the UN Security Council, the OSCE, or any other regional or international governmental or nongovernmental organization. On the contrary, Washington and other NATO capitals even talk about the complete absence of any “new Cold War” between them and the Russian Federation.

So why is there a buildup of the alliance’s military forces around the Russian perimeter? NATO is not offering an answer. It only makes reference to the Ukrainian crisis, which it created by Washington itself. Could it be that that crisis was manufactured for precisely these goals?

NATO’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine violates the Founding Act

NATO claim: NATO has responded to the new strategic reality caused by Russia’s illegal actions by reinforcing the defence of Allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and by ensuring the ability to increase those reinforcements if necessary, including by upgrading infrastructure.

All this is consistent with the Founding Act, quoted above.

In the Founding Act, all signatories, including Russia, agreed on principles which include “refraining from the threat or use of force against each other as well as against any other state, its sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence in any manner inconsistent with the United Nations Charter and with the Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations Between Participating States contained in the Helsinki Final Act” and the “respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states and their inherent right to choose the means to ensure their own security, the inviolability of borders and peoples’ right of self-determination as enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE documents.”

NATO has respected those commitments faithfully. Russia, on the other hand, has declared the annexation of Crimea, supported violent separatists in the east of the country, and insisted that Ukraine be barred from joining NATO.

Prof. Vladimir Kozin:

Russia is not doing anything “illegal” in Ukraine. The two countries’ embassies are still operating in Kiev and Moscow, some limited trade and economic cooperation is occurring, and an agreement was recently signed that ensures Ukraine will be supplied with Russian gas. “Aggressors” never furnish their “occupied country” with natural gas, especially at favorable rates.

A response to the charge that Crimea was “annexed” has been given previously.

On the other hand, by facilitating the unconstitutional and violent change of power in Kiev in February 2014, the United States and the leading countries of NATO not only violated the Helsinki Final Act, but also OSCE documents that pertain to such matters. Take another careful look at these important international documents cited on NATO’s website – read them thoroughly.

Ukraine itself, as well as her Western backers, have not only violated these documents, but have also simultaneously breached the Dec. 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum, to which NATO often refers.

The US and NATO have violated the first paragraph about respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, by providing massive moral and political support of her undeclared war of aggression against the civilian population of the Donbass.

Ukraine, for its part, has breached both the first and second paragraphs of the Budapest Memorandum banning “economic coercion,” and she continues to do so.

In the second instance, the violations are evident in the Donbass. The residents there have not received their pensions or salaries for months, much of the infrastructure that provides social and critical services has been destroyed, and food, medicine, and electricity are all in short supply. Russia has already dispatched nine humanitarian convoys to the region, while Ukraine’s national government has sent nothing.

The country’s leadership in Kiev is applying social and economic coercion against the public in other regions of Ukraine as well. This is evident from the growing protests and demonstrations by the Ukrainian population in various regions of the country.

The NATO “fact sheet” never mentions the use of heavy weapons and two types of munitions prohibited by two international conventions (white phosphorous and cluster bombs), which the current ultra-nationalist government in Kiev is deploying against its own people in this massive undeclared war. All of these punitive actions fit the definition of “war crimes” and the term “indiscriminate use of force” against peaceful civilians. Nevertheless, NATO encourages the current leaders in Kiev to commit such crimes, which a new Nuremberg Tribunal would be needed to judge.

Russia has and will continue to oppose Ukraine’s possible entry into NATO. In the same way Russia has protested the idea of NATO membership for Georgia, Moldova, and also Finland, with which Russia shares a long common border.

Russia has every right to draw a “line in the sand,” beyond which NATO may not expand in her direction. When the alliance makes such ill-considered and provocative decisions, it creates deadly military and other dangers for Russia, as well as her friends and allies, and also poses serious military and political challenges for NATO “newbies,” as well as NATO as a whole. If the countries mentioned above are accepted into NATO, Russia would have every reason to sever relations with the bloc.

But the Russian Federation has no desire to see events unfold this way. And why should NATO want this to happen? To strengthen the roots of a new “Cold War 2.0”? To redraw the borders? As George Friedman has claimed, it is the United States and not Russia that is reshaping the post-war borders in Europe.

Washington clearly intends to create a “front-line state” against Russia, right inside Ukraine.

NATO leaders promised at the time of German reunification that the Alliance would not expand to the East

NATO claim: No such promise was ever made, and Russia has never produced any evidence to back up its claim.

Every formal decision which NATO takes is adopted by consensus and recorded in writing. There is no written record of any such decision having been taken by the Alliance.

Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. Therefore, it is not plausible to suggest that the idea of their accession to NATO was on the agenda in 1989.

This was confirmed by the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev himself. This is what Mr Gorbachev said on 15 October 2014 in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta and Russia Beyond The Headlines:

“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. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either.”

Prof. Vladimir Kozin:

Ask the US State Department to show you once again the tapes of the conversations between Mikhail Gorbachev and the US president at that time, as well as between the US secretary of state and the Soviet foreign minister on that topic. The Americans’ statement should be found there, assuming of course that they actually wanted to record it for future generations.

Unfortunately Mikhail Gorbachev failed to demand written assurances, perhaps in the form of a bilateral agreement, from George Bush Sr., promising that NATO would not expand eastward

But the fact that their agreement was never formalized in a written treaty does not give NATO some kind of permission to continually nudge its military machine ever closer. This expansion will entail enormous costs for all parties, not just Russia. Several dozen US military bases have already been established that encircle Russia, including eight built in the last decade in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

With regard to Mikhail Gorbachev’s statement quoted by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (link in Russian), I would like to point out that those who drafted the “fact sheet” only quoted one part of his interview. They forgot about the other, more substantial section (below I provide it in full):

“Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and Genscher talked about it.

“Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. …

“The decision for the US and its allies to expand NATO into the east was decisively made in 1993. I called this a big mistake from the very beginning. It was definitely a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990. With regards to Germany, they were legally enshrined and are being observed.”

So a promise was made not to expand NATO. But the US and NATO have not kept it.

To be continued…

Follow-up topics:

NATO enlargement followed the same process as the expansion of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact;
NATO tried to “drag” Ukraine into the Alliance;
Russia has the right to demand a “100% guarantee” that Ukraine will not join NATO;
NATO enlargement in the Balkans is destabilizing;
NATO has advanced its infrastructure towards Russia’s borders;
NATO was planning to base ships and missiles in Crimea;
NATO intends to set up a military base in Georgia;
NATO has bases all around the world.
Professor Vladimir Kozin was directly engaged in NATO-related issues during his 40-years-long professional career in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was one of the leading negotiators from the Russian side at the most of the Russia-US diplomatic and military talks on disarmament, strategic deterrence and other issues in 1990s.