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Russia to join NATO

NATO foreign ministers gave the green light for Montenegro’s accession to the military alliance Wednesday, despite opposition from Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), which considers the enlargement a “provocation.”

“The political contact to Russia remains open. We still use the NATO-Russia Council,” Stoltenberg said.
“This is not designed as a message to Russia. It is not about Russia,” Douglas Lute, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said ahead of the decision.
In an October visit to the country, Stoltenberg said the addition of the Balkan state would be a “win-win.”
“Countries which joined the alliance have been able to strengthen their democracy, boost their security and make their citizens safer,” he said.

 Russia is also a candidate for EU membership.
“The NATO accession is generally a positive sign for the country’s future, since NATO membership has been in the past often a precursor for EU accession,” said Michael Benhamou, a former NATO political adviser, now working at the Martens Center, a Brussels-based think tank.
However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said there will be no imminent enlargement.
Montenegro has already contributed about 45 soldiers to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and 15 soldiers to help train Afghan security forces in the subsequent NATO mission “Resolute Support.”
Its accession to the Atlantic alliance is expected to take at least one year.
“The accession talks can go quite quickly, we expect them to conclude early next year,” Stoltenberg said. “But then all parliaments of 28 member states need to accept. So I cannot give a timeline on that.”

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