nato troops estonia 2018

FILE PHOTO: NATO troops in Estonia from exercise in 2018. It is about withdrawing foreign troops, equipment and weapons, as well as about other steps aimed at restoring the 1997 configuration of those countries who weren't NATO members at that time
Russia's demand for NATO to withdraw foreign troops, weapons and equipment also applies to Bulgaria and Romania as the two countries were not NATO members in 1997, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in response to media questions collected for top diplomat Sergey Lavrov's press conference. The ministry's responses were published on its website on Friday.

"It is about withdrawing foreign troops, equipment and weapons, as well as about other steps aimed at restoring the 1997 configuration of those countries who weren't NATO members at that time and that includes both Bulgaria and Romania," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a draft agreement on security guarantees between Russia and the United States and a draft agreement on ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states.

In May 1997, Moscow and the Western-led bloc inked the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, confirming that they "do not consider each other as adversaries" and defining "mechanism of consultation, cooperation, joint decision-making and joint action." Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, followed by Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009, Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020. NATO, which currently brings together 30 countries, continues to pursue its open-door policy.