FM Lavrov: NATO expansion eastward ‘a mistake’, breaches ‘gentlemen’s agreement’

There is a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ made between Russia and the US and its Western allies in the 1990s that NATO will not expand eastward towards the borders of Russia. It has been breached with the three enlargements of NATO. Now, they want to embroil the Balkan region into this game, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated.

“NATO’s enlargement was a mistake and a violation of the gentlemen’s agreement I’ve mentioned, which was recently declassified by the US. Everyone knew about this, and we simply have been reassured what has really happened after the declassification of these documents,” Lavrov said in Monday’s interview with the Serbian news agency Beta when asked whether Moscow intended to contest Macedonia’s anticipated accession to NATO.

According to him, NATO’s enlargement has undermined the agreement of the 1990s, MIA’s correspondent from Belgrade reports.

“We have warned our NATO counterparts more than once that the line, which had been subject to three waves of expansion with one more wave coming, not only has undermined all that we had agreed in the 1990s, but it is also most probably the most serious challenge to the overall European stability and security,” said the Russian Minister.

They, he added, are trying to keep the continent divided into two.

According to Lavrov, nothing NATO does at the moment can enhance the security of Balkan countries, which in turn are not threaten by Russia in any way.

“I cannot see how these three waves of expansion have made NATO more capable of tackling terrorist threats and drug trafficking crimes, including those coming from the Balkans, where after the unjustified, unilateral declaration of the independence of Kosovo, a territory that is an example of corruption and ‘a black hole’ has been created,” he noted.

Asked to comment on Macedonia more precisely, FM Lavrov said that Moscow made no difference.

“We make no difference. We talk about what we see, we are considering it and we are prepared to take into consideration all the countries. I think that Montenegro’s accession (into NATO) was totally artificial and unnecessary.”

Referring to the Balkans in general, Lavrov said: The West wants to embroil the Balkans into the game of having to decide whether the countries in the region are with the West or with Russia. Ukraine was forced to make the choice, which led to the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine…

According to Minister Lavrov, Russia views its role in the Balkans as ‘constructive’ and has never caused ‘confrontation’ in the Balkans.

The Russian Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit Slovenia and Serbia on Feb.