The US State Department argued that NATO’s further expansion in Eastern Europe is justified on the basis of an “open door policy”, although Moscow claimed that Washington had previously assured that the alliance would not develop.
During a press briefing on Monday, diplomatic spokesman Ned Price was asked about commitments then US Secretary of State James Baker allegedly made in the 1990s, assuring the Soviet leader of the At the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, that the US-led military alliance would not extend near that of Russia. limits.
“Look, we have been clear, as past administrations on both sides have been, that NATO has an open door,” The price responded. “And we are committed to the open-door policy that was proposed in Bucharest, according to which NATO must remain an option for candidates when they are ready and able to meet the commitments set out, as well as the obligations of membership; which specifically means that they are able and willing to contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Price was specifically referring to Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, which could allow US armed forces to be stationed on the country’s border with Russia. Moscow has repeatedly said that such a decision is a “Red line” for Russia, and insisted that it do everything in its power to prevent this situation.
“No one else should have a veto on what NATO decides to do, what a country like Ukraine seeks to do” The price continued.
When asked to heed any promises Baker allegedly made at the time and if he was wrong, Price did not respond directly, saying: “I want to be clear on something else: NATO is a defensive alliance. He is defensive in nature. It is a defensive orientation. The idea that NATO or a candidate country like Ukraine could pose a threat to Russia, as Secretary Blinken said last week, would be laughable if the situation weren’t so dire.
Russia and the United States have never signed a formal treaty limiting NATO expansion, and some experts dispute that American officials have ever promised to curb the alliance in Eastern Europe. In 2017, however, an archive was released containing official records of meetings between Russian and Western leaders, as well as diaries. The documents showed that Russia received assurances in the early 1990s that NATO would not develop.
READ MORE: Biden rejects Russia’s ‘red lines’
Since then, however, 13 eastern European states have joined the alliance. Putin recently called for a written guarantee that NATO would not move further east, accusing the United States of ignoring past promises. US President Joe Biden ruled out the possibility of such a deal, saying: “I don’t accept red lines from anyone.”