Russia regarded its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe as a “safety belt,” the former US secretary of state said
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speaks during an interview at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on November 6, 2018. © Roslan RAHMAN / AFP
Washington’s attempts to incorporate Ukraine into NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union were not prudent, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Friday.
Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan US think tank, the 99-year-old veteran diplomat argued that Washington tried to indiscriminately include all former members of the Soviet bloc under its umbrella after the Berlin wall fell, and that the “whole region between the center of Europe and Russian border became open to restructure.”
“From the Russian point of view, the United States then attempted to integrate this whole region, without exception, into an American-led strategic system,” he said, adding that this development basically removed Russia’s historic “safety belt.”
Kissinger thus stressed that “it was not a wise American policy to attempt to include Ukraine into NATO.”
He, however, does not believe that this justifies attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to re-incorporate Ukraine into Moscow’s sphere of influence by a “surprise attack.”