In a radio address delivered earlier today to the Russian people, Russian president Boris Yeltsin defended his decision to sign the Russia-NATO Founding Act in Paris on May 27. Not surprisingly, Yeltsin’s remarks were anything but an endorsement of NATO’s enlargement plans. The Russian president identified measures worked out by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as responsible for moving East and West away from the confrontation of the Cold War, and claimed that NATO’s expansion plans were both at variance with such positive trends and a threat to Russia’s security. But Yeltsin suggested that Russia’s willingness to negotiate the recent agreement with NATO had minimized this threat to Russia by winning for Moscow a series of concessions from NATO leaders. They include a commitment by NATO not to deploy nuclear weapons in newly-admitted member states or to build up conventional forces close to Russia’s borders, and — through the Russia-NATO joint council — to give Russia a voice in the alliance’s affairs. In what he called a "gesture of good will," Yeltsin also confirmed in his radio message that Russian nuclear missiles aimed at NATO countries will be detargeted. (May 30)
A statement released this morning by Russia’s Defense Ministry also pointed to the benefits of constructive relations with NATO. The statement said that the Russia-NATO Founding Act "regulates a set of commitments which lower to a considerable extent the possible military consequences [to Russia] of NATO enlargement, including those stemming from the inclusion of the armed forces of its new members in the military organization of the bloc." (Itar-Tass, May 30)
Bonn Calls for Action on Russian Nuclear Warheads.