Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refuted former US President Bill Clinton’s comment on NATO’s open-door policy towards Russia, arguing that Washington has made it impossible for Moscow to join the Alliance.
“I know for sure that the American side has repeatedly spoken about the impossibility of such membership. De facto, it was said that the doors, on the contrary, are closed, because it is fundamentally impossible,” Peskov told reporters on Monday.
Earlier last week, Bill Clinton published an article in The Atlantic attempting to justify his administration’s policy on the expansion of NATO.
“My policy was to work for the best, while expanding NATO to prepare for the worst. Yes, NATO expanded despite Russia’s objections, but expansion was about more than the U.S. relationship with Russia,” the former president explained.
- He added that, “[the US] left the door open for Russia’s eventual membership in NATO.”
In late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a nearly hour-long video address to the nation, in which he explained the Kremlin’s security concerns over Ukraine, primarily regarding Kiev’s NATO-oriented foreign policy.
In his speech, the Russian leader shared that he had raised the question of Russia’s accession to NATO with then-president Bill Clinton but to no avail. Instead of embracing Moscow into the US-led military alliance, according to President Putin, Washington has responded with supporting terrorists inside Russia, the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and the expansion of NATO threatening the security of the world’s largest nation.
According to the Kremlin, the disdain of Americans for Russia’s safety concerns and NATO’s refusal to provide Moscow with security guarantees, including the non-alignment of its neighbors to the Western military bloc, have provoked Russia to recognize the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics and take military action, launching an offensive against Ukraine. Kiev and the West believe that Moscow’s attack was completely unprovoked.