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Rasmussen: “Wrong Signal” Was Sent to Russia by Not Granting MAP to Georgia, Ukraine

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, November 20
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that NATO sent “wrong signal” to Russia by not granting MAP to Georgia and Ukraine at Bucharest Summit in April 2008.

Rasmussen made the comment in his interview with the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

“Then in 2008, at the NATO summit in Bucharest, we also decided that Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO…But we sent a wrong signal to Putin when we refrained from giving a membership action plan to Georgia and Ukraine,” he stated.

Ex-NATO official says that Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he could act aggressively and he did so in the same year when in August 2008 he attacked Georgia.

“I think we should have pursued that path to give a membership action plan to both Georgia and Ukraine. That wouldn't have been a guarantee of membership but it would have sent a powerful signal to Russia,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen added that Russia is not a strategic partner but a “strategic adversary.”

“The only way to get Putin to understand that he needs to engage constructively is to maintain a very firm stance and transatlantic unity,” he underlined.

Rasmussen said NATO thought they could turn Russia into what a strategic partner, recalling NATO-Russia summit back in 2010 in which development of a strategic partnership was decided.

“But today we have to realize that Russia is not a strategic partner, it is a strategic adversary. It is as simple as that, so we have to adapt to it. I am not that optimistic anymore,” he stressed.