The United Kingdom’s relations with Russia Contents

Formal Minutes

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Members present:

Crispin Blunt, in the Chair

Ann Clwyd

Mike Gapes

Stephen Gethins

Mr Mark Hendrick

Adam Holloway

Daniel Kawczynski

Ian Murray

Andrew Rosindell

Nadhim Zahawi

Draft Report (The United Kingdom’s relations with Russia), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 15 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 16—(Mike Gapes)—brought up and read, as follows:

This view is disputed by NATO itself, individual NATO Governments and by many independent commentators. For example, Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, wrote:

No treaties prohibiting NATO expansion were ever signed with Russia. No promises were broken. Nor did the impetus for NATO expansion come from a “triumphalist” Washington. On the contrary, Poland’s first efforts to apply in 1992 were rebuffed [...]. When the slow, cautious expansion eventually took place, constant efforts were made to reassure Russia. No NATO bases were placed in the new member states, and until 2013 no exercises were conducted there. A Russia-NATO agreement in 1997 promised no movement of nuclear installations. A NATO-Russia Council was set up in 2002. In response to Russian objections, Ukraine and Georgia were, in fact, denied NATO membership plans in 2008. Meanwhile, not only was Russia not “humiliated” during this era, it was given de facto “great power” status, along with the Soviet seat on the UN Security Council and Soviet embassies. Russia also received Soviet nuclear weapons, some transferred from Ukraine in 1994 in exchange for Russian recognition of Ukraine’s borders. Presidents Clinton and Bush both treated their Russian counterparts as fellow “great power” leaders and invited them to join the Group of Eight—although Russia, neither a large economy nor a democracy, did not qualify.

Other commentators have gone further in addressing this point. For example, historians Christopher Clark and Kristina Spohr stated:

In recent years, the tendency to misremember past debacles as humiliations has emerged as one of the salient features of the Kremlin’s conduct of international affairs. Amid recriminations over US and western European interventions in Kosovo, Libya and Syria, the Russian leadership has begun to question the legitimacy of the international agreements on which the current European order is founded. Among these, the centrepiece is the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany of 12 September 1990, also known as the Two-plus-Four Treaty because it was signed by the two Germanys, plus the US, the Soviet Union, Britain and France. Yet the claim that the negotiations towards this treaty included guarantees barring NATO from expansion into Eastern Europe is entirely unfounded. In the discussions leading to the treaty, the Russians never raised the question of NATO enlargement, other than in respect of the former East Germany. Regarding this territory, it was agreed that after Soviet troop withdrawals German forces assigned to NATO could be deployed there but foreign NATO forces and nuclear weapons systems could not. There was no commitment to abstain in future from eastern NATO enlargement.

Question put, that the paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided:

Ayes, 6

Noes, 1

Ann Clwyd

Daniel Kawczynski

Mike Gapes

Stephen Gethins

Mr Mark Hendrick

Ian Murray

Nadhim Zahawi

Ordered, That the paragraph be read a second time.

Paragraph 16 inserted.

Paragraphs 17 to 187 read and agreed to.

Summary read and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Seventh Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 134.

[Adjourned till Tuesday 28 February at 2.15pm





28 February 2017