Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed former US President Bill Clinton’s claims about NATO’s alleged open-door policy towards Russia. Peskov stressed that Washington had made it impossible for Moscow to join the military bloc. He explained to reporters:
“I know for sure that the US side has repeatedly spoken of the impossibility of such membership. In fact, it has been said that the doors are closed, on the contrary, that it is fundamentally impossible.”
Earlier last week, Bill Clinton published an article in The Atlantic in which he attempted to justify his administration’s policy on NATO expansion. In it, the former US President wrote:
“My policy was to work for the best while expanding NATO to be prepared for the worst. Yes, NATO was expanded despite Russia’s objections, but expansion was about more than just the relations of the USA to Russia.”
Clinton added that the US had “left the door open to Russia’s eventual membership of NATO.”
In late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a nearly hour-long video address to the nation detailing the Kremlin’s security concerns about Ukraine, particularly in light of Kiev’s NATO-leaning foreign policy.
In his speech, the Russian head of state said he had raised the issue of Russia’s entry into NATO with then-US President Bill Clinton, but to no avail. Instead of including Moscow in the bloc, Washington has responded by supporting terrorists inside Russia, withdrawing from the 1972 Ballistic Missile Treaty and expanding the organization in a way that threatens Russia’s security, Putin said.
According to the Kremlin, NATO’s refusal to provide Moscow with security guarantees has prompted Russia to recognize the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and to pursue military action with an offensive in Ukraine. Kyiv and the West believe that Moscow’s military action is completely unjustified.