The German magazine Der Spiegel published an article reporting that archival documents have been found confirming the promise of Western countries to the Soviet Union in 1991 not to expand NATO eastward. The materials were discovered by political scientist and Boston University professor Joshua Shifrinson.
The documents describe a meeting of political directors from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in March 1991 in Bonn, a German city. The topic of the meeting was the security of Poland and other Eastern European countries.
“We need new ideas on how to ensure the security of Central and Eastern Europe. During the Two plus Four negotiations [on an agreement regarding Germany with the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic; plus the US, the Soviet Union, France and the UK], we made it clear that NATO would not expand beyond the Elbe River. Therefore, we cannot offer NATO membership to Poland and others,” German spokesman Jurgen Hrobog concluded, according to the document.
For his part, US representative Raymond Seitz noted that the Soviet Union “was made clear” that NATO would not benefit from the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe in the Two Plus Four negotiations, nor in other negotiations. .
“NATO should not expand formally or informally to the east,” the US spokesman concluded.
Putin directs military maneuvers with ballistic and cruise missiles
Planned in advance, the scheduled exercises include the participation of the Aerospace Forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Designated Missile Troops, the Northern Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet.
All the missiles hit the assigned targets, confirming their characteristics, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The main objective was to test the readiness of the strategic deterrence forces and the reliability of the weapons of the nuclear and non-nuclear forces. In addition to the preparation of the military command bodies, the Russian military checked the launch crews, as well as the status of the crews of warships and strategic missile carriers.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valeri Gerasimov, has detailed that the objective has been “to practice the actions of the strategic offensive forces to inflict a guaranteed defeat on the enemy,” the Ministry of Defense picks up his words.
The maneuvers were divided into two stages, which include rehearsing military actions with the use of weapons of high potential danger and the massive use of strategic offensive forces in a retaliatory attack, the institution added.
Putin has led the exercises from his command post in the Kremlin, watching them unfold alongside Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. As his spokesman Dmitri Peskov advanced on Friday, maneuvers of this type, including training launches, are impossible without the presence of the head of state.
You know the famous black briefcase, the red [nuclear] button and so on. Exactly how it will participate is not public information, the spokesman said. At the same time, Peskov stressed that the scheduled exercises are transparent and should not cause concern.