Reader 01/19/2023 (Thu) 09:52 Id: a7934b No.19667 del
>>19666 (continued)
Indeed, numerous officials — including then-director for security and disarmament Anatoly Antonov, today serving as Russia’s ambassador to the United States — warned pushing ahead would produce a less co-operative Russia. Pushing NATO’s borders to the two former Soviet states “threatened Russian and the entire region’s security, and could also negatively impact Russia’s willingness to cooperate in the [NATO-Russia Council],” one foreign ministry official warned, while others pointed to the policy to explain Putin’s threats to suspend the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. “CFE would not survive NATO enlargement,” went a Russian threat in one March 2008 cable.

Maybe most pertinent were the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the time a veteran diplomat respected in the West, and who continues to serve in the position today. At least eight cables, a number of them written by Burns, record Lavrov’s expressions of opposition to expanding NATO to Ukraine and Georgia over the course of 2007-08, when Bush’s decision, over the objections of allies, to publicly affirm their future accession led to a spike in tensions.

“While Russia might believe statements from the West that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at recent military activities in NATO countries … they had to be evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential,” went Burns’s summary of Lavrov’s annual foreign policy review in January 2008. On the same day, he wrote, a foreign ministry spokesperson warned that Ukraine’s “likely integration into NATO would seriously complicate the many-sided Russian-Ukrainian relations” and lead Moscow to “have to take appropriate measures.”