NATO kept doors open for Russia, ex-US president reveals — Analysis

Bill Clinton claimed that he was clear with Yeltsin & Putin about the possibility of Moscow joining the Western military bloc.

Bill Clinton was the former US President. He said that he had told Russian leaders that Moscow would one day be a NATO member. Clinton stated that this was something he said to the Russian leadership before Boris Yeltsin died, which governed Russia in 1991-1999, then President Vladimir Putin.

“We left the door open for Russia’s eventual membership in NATO, something I made clear to Yeltsin and later confirmed to his successor, Vladimir Putin,”The former US President wrote the following in an opinion piece published by The Atlantic on Thursday.

Putin, in late February, recalled a conversation with Clinton regarding NATO in 2000. But his accounts painted an entirely different picture. According to the Russian president, he asked Clinton how the US would respond if Russia joined NATO, and Putin described Clinton’s reaction as “rather restrained.”

In an interview with the BBC in 2000, Putin refused to rule out Russia’s potential membership, but only “as an equal partner.”

In his op-ed, Clinton defended the bloc’s expansion eastward after the breakup of the Soviet Union. “If Russia chose to revert to ultranationalist imperialism, an enlarged NATO and a growing European Union would bolster the continent’s security,”He wrote.

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that it views the bloc’s expansion as a threat to national security.

UN suspension ‘orchestrated by US’ – Russia

NATO continues to defend its ‘open-door policy’ and maintains that it is a purely defensive alliance.

Moscow cited Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO as one of reasons for its ongoing military campaign in the country. Russia is demanding that Ukraine declares itself to be neutral.

Russia attacked the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German and French-brokered) was created to normalize the status within Ukraine’s regions.

Kiev denies that Russia launched an offensive against it and claims they did not intend to seize the two republics.

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