The deputy prime minister and defence minister of Poland yesterday suggested fellow former Soviet nations Macedonia and Montenegro could join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) next year.
Minister Tomasz Siemoniak called on the nuclear treaty organisation to admit the nations, formerly constituent parts of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while speaking at a major conference hosted by the Atlantic Council in Wroclaw. It is a move that will almost certainly worsen relations between Russia and the West, as Moscow will see it as a further encroachment on ‘neutral’ territory they believe was agreed on in the early 1990’s.
Addressing the conference this week, Minister Siemoniak said if the nations weren’t invited to join NATO at next year’s conference, to be held in Warsaw, the event “will not bring full satisfaction to many nations, including Poland”.
The move will almost certainly be seen as a deliberate provocation by the Russians, who feel the near continuous expansion of NATO since the fall of Communism including Poland itself in 1999, is a betrayal of assurances made at the end of the Cold War. NATO rejects the notion that there was ever a “politically or legally binding commitment of the West not to extend NATO beyond the borders of a reunified Germany”, calling the idea a “myth” propagated by Russia to suit its own foreign policy objectives.
The expansion of NATO, and the placement of air defence and sometimes nuclear weapons in Eastern European nations has traditionally been a claimed factor in Russian aggression towards the West, and was cited by Russian propaganda during the incursions into the Crimea.
Watch Tomasz Siemoniak’s address: