Photo: screenshot from the video in the post
The fact that Putin sent a request for NATO not to expand – which was rejected – and such a draft agreement was never signed by NATO, does not shift the military responsibility onto NATO. Stoltenberg, unlike the contents of the post, does not recognize the fact that NATO could have prevented the war provided it put an end to enlargement. On the contrary, in the video, he says that such a thing is unacceptable
The cards are on the table: The war or peace decision in Ukraine was in the hands of America and NATO. NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, confirmed that Russia attacked Ukraine to prevent NATO expansionism. In addition, Stoltenberg admits that NATO could have prevented the war by putting an end to NATO’s expansion and by adhering to the NATO-Russia Founding Act from 1997. Does this mean that America is getting ready for a Putin/Biden peace agreement with Russia, new YALTA, and division of the EU and NATO within the borders before 1991 bearing in mind last year’s statement made by Stoltenberg: If Ukraine loses, we will lose a great deal. The question is who is “we”?
There is a video statement by Stoltenberg as part of the post where he is explaining the ultimatums and blackmailing efforts received by NATO from Russia in the form of “draft agreements” that Putin wanted NATO to sign thereby promising that NATO will not expand further. According to Stoltenberg, that was the condition for Putin not to attack Ukraine. Putin wanted NATO to sign – in writing – that it would not expand any longer and that he wanted NATO to dismantle the infrastructure of the Allies that joined NATO after 1997. Stoltenberg adds that Putin resorted to military invasion to prevent NATO from going cross-border.
He achieved the opposite. He got a bigger NATO presence on the Eastern part of the Alliance and Finland became a member state, while Sweden will be a full member soon. This is good for the Nordic countries – for Finland and Sweden – and it is good for NATO thereby demonstrating that President Putin performed an invasion of a European country. To prevent NATO expansion, he accomplished the exact opposite result, says Stoltenberg.
Unlike the statement in the post fact-checked, the war or peace decision in Ukraine was not in the hands of NATO or America, but in the hands of Russia which started a military invasion of a sovereign and democratic country, with no provocation whatsoever. The fact that Putin demanded from NATO not to expand and that a draft agreement was never signed by NATO, does not shift the military responsibility onto NATO. Unlike the claim made in the post, Stoltenberg is not recognizing that NATO could have prevented the war by putting an end to NATO’s expansion but says in the video that such a thing was unacceptable.
NATO expansion would not have been discussed between the USA and USSR in 1989
There is no written document according to which NATO should not expand in the future. Every country, including Ukraine, has the right to make decisions about its future and to decide which international policies to join. Since the beginning of 2022, the fact-checkers of Politifact have been checking this and arrived to the conclusion that no legal document prohibits NATO from expanding eastwards and that no consent was reached among the participants at the time that such discussions were to take place between the highest American and German officials and the last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Precisely, most sources claim that the only topic discussed was the reunification of Germany as a NATO member state.
There is no written document signed by the USA, Europe and Russia about NATO not expanding. The idea of NATO expansion beyond Germany was not on the agenda in 1989, particularly as the Warsaw Pact still existed. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev 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. Western leaders didn’t bring it up either, says Gorbachev, as stated by NATO’s website.
De-classified White House transcripts also reveal that, in 1997, Bill Clinton consistently refused Boris Yeltsin’s offer of a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republic would enter NATO.
I can’t make commitments on behalf of NATO, and I am not going to be in the position myself of vetoing NATO expansion with respect to any other country, much less letting you or anybody else do so… NATO operates by consensus, Clinton said.
According to the above-noted, an agreement was never concluded where NATO is promising Russia that it would not expand after the Cold War. NATO’s door has been open for new members ever since the establishment of the Alliance back in 1949, and that has never changed.
The open-door policy is regulated in Article 10 of NATO’s Founding Treaty, specifying that any other European country that can strengthen the Treaty’s principles and contribute to NATO’s security may apply for membership. Membership decisions are adopted by consensus.
NATO is not starting a war, nor does it have an army in Ukraine
NATO was not the instigator of the war in Ukraine, nor could it prevent the war. NATO neither initiated the military invasion nor has its troops in Ukraine. Russia was the one that attacked Ukraine in February 2022, while Ukraine as an independent country is entitled to defend itself and use all available resources received as aid from its friends. NATO is sending military aid to Ukraine without being a party to the war.
The war can stop immediately provided Russia withdraws from Ukrainian territory. NATO is a defensive alliance, whose main purpose is to protect its members. Official NATO policy does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to the Russian Federation. NATO didn’t invade Georgia; NATO didn’t invade Ukraine. Russia did.
Due to all of the above-noted facts, we assess the fact-checked post as untrue.