NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has refuted Russian statements that the Alliance has never made a promise not to expand, particularly to the East. He said this in an interview with DPA.

“NATO has never made the premise to not enlarge. Actually, it is in the founding treaty of our organization that any European country can become a member of the alliance. Second, there are documents dating back from the 70s, the 90s – the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter, the NATO-Russia founding act and many other treaties – which make clear that countries have the right to choose their own path,” Stoltenberg said.

He recalled that this is a basic principle of European security to which Russia is also a signatory.

“Allies strongly deny that they ever promised anything like that. Former President Gorbachev himself said the subject of NATO enlargement never came up ahead of German reunification,” Stoltenberg added.