During the NATO-Russia summit earlier this week the alliance strongly rejected the key proposals by Moscow on European security – to limit NATO’s eastward expansion and the deployment of its armaments close to Russia’s borders. The Kremlin sees both trends within the alliance as a national security threat.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the alliance has already made the decision that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of the bloc. In an interview for the Italian news outlet La Repubblica, Stoltenberg said that the decision had been made in 2008 during a summit of NATO states.
The NATO chief noted, however, that nothing was said about when either of the states will be accepted into the alliance’s ranks. Neither Ukraine, nor Georgia has been accepted into the bloc so far and no timeline has been given for it to happen.
At the same time, Stoltenberg reiterated earlier statements by NATO that it will not sacrifice its open-door policy in the security dialogue with Russia, which kicked off earlier this week. Moscow demanded that the alliance stop its eastward expansion and prevent the deployment of offensive weapons any closer to Russia’s borders. The Kremlin views NATO’s encroachment towards the country’s borders as a national security threat.
Both Georgia and Ukraine have expressed a desire to join the alliance. Kiev even embedded the policy to join NATO in the Ukrainian Constitution. Despite the refusal to accept Ukraine into NATO, the West has pledged to respond should Russia attack the country.
For several months, NATO members have been floating the idea that Moscow might be plotting an invasion, even the though Kremlin has repeatedly assured them it harbours no such plans. The European security talks between Russia, the US, and NATO earlier this week were organised in part to address the West’s concerns.