Vladimir Putin said that he offered Bill Clinton, when he was president of the United States, to consider the option of Russia’s membership in NATO. The Russian leader said this in an interview with American director Oliver Stone.
Such a proposal Putin put forward at a recent meeting with Clinton during the visit of the American leader to Moscow. “Clinton answered: I do not mind, but the whole delegation was very nervous,” Putin said in an interview, fragments of which were published by Politico.
Bill Clinton last visited Russia in the post of head of state in the summer of 2000.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not conduct negotiations
At the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia did not conduct any negotiations on joining the North Atlantic alliance, said the former head of the department, Igor Ivanov. He added that he personally did not have to take part in discussions of this kind between 1998 and 2004, when he headed the Foreign Ministry.
At the same time, Ivanov did not rule out that the Russian leadership could consider a hypothetical option with the country joining NATO subject to a change in the nature of the organization, which, according to Ivanov, is “a military aggressive bloc directed to the East.” “But, given that the nature of NATO has not changed, then the attitude of Russia to the alliance has not changed as well,” the ex-minister stressed.
He also recalled that Boris Yeltsin mentioned earlier the possibility of joining NATO, but later it was stated that the words of the first President of Russia were misunderstood.
Check for aggressiveness
Ex-Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy Sergei Ordzhonikidze, commenting on the information on the discussion of Russia’s accession to the alliance, suggested that Vladimir Putin could test this initiative with NATO’s aggressiveness.
He recalled that already at the creation of NATO in 1949 the Soviet Union offered to join the alliance, but this initiative was rejected. “Then we put them in a diplomatic position in a very piquant situation, I do not exclude that now, in our time, there was a repeat of such an offer,” Ordzhonikidze said. In his opinion, acting in this way, Russia checked whether there is a possibility of further improving relations or the United States views Russia as a potential enemy.
NATO is a tool of the United States
In an interview with Stone, the Russian president also said that at present the North Atlantic alliance is only a means to implement the foreign policy plans of the United States. “Today it is a foreign policy tool of the United States, there are no allies, only vassals are there,” he explained.
According to Putin, when new members join NATO, they fall under the influence of Washington, and then objects appearing on their territory that threaten Russia. Among them, he called missile defense systems, military bases and new strike complexes.
“We must take countermeasures in this regard, that is, put under attack those objects that, in our opinion, are beginning to threaten us,” Putin said.