Russian leaders have been adamant in their opposition to the extension of NATO eastward into nations that border its territory. President Dimitry Medvedev has accused the West of reneging on promises that no such extension of NATO would ever occur. Russian columnists like former Colonel Viktor Baranez argue that NATO “has pushed its way right up to our national borders with its guns.” In so doing, says Baranez, the West broke promises made during the time of German reunification that no such plans were to be pursued. According to President Medvedev in an interview with Der Spiegel, NATO broke its promises to Russia. “None of the things that we were assured, namely that NATO would not expand endlessly eastwards and our interests would be continuously taken into consideration” were ever carried out.
Research carried out by Der Spiegel the conclusion was “there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.” There still remain disagreements among those who participated in the events of 1990. The US Ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock says assurances were given while his superior former Secretary of State James Baker insists no commitment was made about not extending eastwards.
We will have to leave it to future historians to sort out what happened. However, there is no doubt, Russia has a right to insist they were not given a clear message concerning eastward movement of NATO