While the world is closely following the news of the Coronavirus pandemic in different countries, a new, 30th member of the alliance has appeared in NATO. Northern Macedonia has signed a document of accession to the North Atlantic bloc. Soon two military bases of the alliance may appear in the Balkan Republic. Russia believes that NATO enlargement can strike at the security of Europe. Details are in the “Izvestia” material.
Northern Macedonia officially became the 30th member of the military bloc. All 29 parliaments of the alliance member countries have ratified this document before.
It was supposed to hold a solemn event at which the treaty will be transferred to the U.S. State Department in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. However, the Coronavirus Pandemic intervened in the plans – it was decided to postpone all celebrations on this occasion.
Northern Macedonia joined the action plan for NATO membership back in 1999.
However, Athens stood in the way of further integration. The reason for this was the name of the Balkan country.
The pro-European government of Zoran Zajev signed an agreement with Greece, according to which Athens withdrew its veto to join the Balkan country to NATO, in return, the former Yugoslav republic was to change its name to Northern Macedonia.
With the accession to NATO, the former Yugoslav republic was actively assisted by the U.S. Northern Macedonia is of little military value: the number of armed forces does not exceed 8 thousand people, the country has no access to the sea, so it has no fleet, the defense budget is about $ 108 million.
Soon after joining NATO two military bases of the alliance may appear in the Balkan country. The first one is on the place of the once largest military range of the former Yugoslavia in Krivolak, and the second one in Kumanovo, located on the border with Serbia.
“In the current conditions, the North Atlantic bloc needs to demonstrate that it is expanding, strengthening control over such a strategically important area as the Balkans. Now only two non-NATO countries, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, remain in the Balkans, where Russophilus sentiment is strong enough.