West violated key NATO-Russia treaty – Lavrov — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
The 1997 Founding Act remains legally in force, but was effectively violated by the US-led bloc, Lavrov claims
Neither Russia nor NATO have ever formally denounced the 1997 Founding Act, but in practice it does not work because the bloc violates it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday. Some thought the key document would be dropped by NATO at its leaders’ summit in Madrid.
« In the legal sense, the Founding Act continues to exist, we have not initiated the procedure for the termination of this agreement », said the minister during a press conference.
“The decisions that were made [in Madrid] would grossly violate the terms of the Founding Act, in the first place the parts concerning NATO’s obligation not to permanently harbor large troops on the territories of the new Member States – that is to say Eastern Europe « , said Lavrov.
He was referring to the decision taken this week by NATO to strengthen its military presence on the Russian border.
The Russian minister’s assessment of the viability of the 1997 document coincided with that of his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, who is one of Russia’s most vocal critics.
“The Russian government has made it clear that the NATO-Russia Founding Act is no longer worth it. We must therefore now recognize that this fundamental act was also terminated unilaterally by Russia, and not by NATO,” he added. Baerbock told reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in May.
The key treaty was adopted as NATO planned to expand into Europe, raising concerns from Russia. Moscow said that would violate previous assurances that the alliance would not move beyond a unified Germany because it posed a threat to Russian national security.
The first wave of post-Cold War NATO enlargement that incorporated the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland into the bloc came two years later, with further waves following against Russian objections.
Moscow has long complained about the ineffectiveness of the NATO-Russia Council, a forum where the two sides were supposed to settle grievances, which was created by law. However, the alliance used it to simply block Russia, she claimed.
Russia suspended its office entirely at NATO headquarters in Brussels in October 2021, after the organization expelled eight Russian diplomats for allegedly working for Russian intelligence. The NATO office in Moscow was therefore closed.