Russia has correctly been maintaining for decades that NATO’s eastward expansion violated Western promises that the Alliance would not advance “one inch” in that direction (to use Mikhail Gorbachev’s famous phrase) after the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. NATO and the US had claimed that such a commitment was never made in writing. This is a lie designed to enable NATO to pursue its steady advance to the borders of Russia unchallenged and ride rough-shod over the rules of International Law.
On 18 February 2022 the German magazine Der Spiegel reported the discovery of a momentous document found amongst the minutes of the 6 March 1991 meeting in Bonn (at that time the capital of the German Federal Republic) between the political directors of the Foreign Ministries of the US, UK, France, and Germany, who discussed the preconditions for German reunification. Because of Soviet objections to the possible absorption of East German (the German Democratic Republic) into NATO, an agreement was reached which allowed a reunified Germany to remain a part of NATO on the condition that NATO troops were not to be stationed in East German territory. The document, published in full by the magazine, made it absolutely clear that NATO would not expand “past the eastern borders of Germany”, including, of course, into neighbouring Poland.
Therefore, for a start, Poland should never have been allowed to join NATO, which it did on 26 February 1999, later followed by Germany’s “eastern borders” which at that time were the Oder-Neisse Line (in German: Oder-Neiße-Grenze), called after the two rivers Oder and Neisse which formed the boundary between Germany (the German Democratic Republic) and Poland from 1950 until 1990 and had been Poland’s western border since 1945. This delineation transferred a large section of German territory to Poland, including parts of Pomerania, parts of Brandenburg, and all of Silesia.