Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the United States and NATO to withdraw from the eastern part of the Atlantic Alliance and to commit themselves not to further enlarge the Alliance. According to the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “We must remember that in December 2021, a couple of months before the invasion, President Putin presented what he called security treaties. He wanted the United States and NATO to sign documents that were sent to Brussels and Washington. There were several requests. He called for removing all NATO infrastructure from the eastern part of the alliance. He called for a buffer zone, especially in the Baltic region, so that most of the Baltic countries could not be protected by NATO forces. And he asked, as a sort of ultimatum not to invade Ukraine, that NATO guarantee not to expand further,” he said.
“It was a question of not proceeding with further enlargements with Ukraine, but also with Finland and Sweden. We invited Russia to dialogue. We said that it was not possible for us to accept these ultimatums. But we made some diplomatic efforts to see if we could sit at the table and find a diplomatic solution to the crisis that was escalating even in the fall of 2021,” she added. “The declared purpose of the invasion of Ukraine was to stop the further enlargement of NATO and to have less Alliance, with buffer zones and the removal of NATO infrastructure from all those countries that have joined since 1997,” he continued Stoltenberg. “President Putin achieved exactly the opposite. On the day of the invasion we activated our defense plans, deploying more forces to the eastern part of the alliance. Now there are more NATO forces, infrastructure, planes, troops in the eastern part of the Alliance than there have ever been,” he concluded.