Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have met Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with outrage, deploying thousands of troops to Eastern Europe to protect their alliance members.
However, the Russian military forces are still in place Launched a brutal attack on UkraineWednesday morning NATO nations will not wage war against Russia, unless one of its member states is attacked.
NATO is in a difficult time as Ukraine wants to become a part of NATO. The NATO decision to remain out of Ukraine’s conflict has come at an unfortunate moment. still shut out in large part because of Russia’s fierce opposition to more eastward NATO expansion. So far, Russia’s wide-ranging attack on its neighbor country has been confined to Ukraine’s borders, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, but several nearby NATO countries are on high alert and have formally asked other members to discuss whether the alliance should take collective action.
Here’s what you need to know about NATO’s role in the escalating tensions in Eastern Europe.
What was NATO’s response to Russia’s attack?
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Russia’s moves “a brutal act of war” and affirmed Thursday morning that the military alliance would defend “every inch” of its territory should Russia attack a member country—an outcome military experts say is unlikely.
NATO won’t send troops to Ukraine despite ongoing war and increasing casualties. Instead, it will strengthen its eastern flank.
“We do not have any plans [to deploy] NATO troops to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a press briefing on Feb. 24. “We have already increased and we are increasing the presence of NATO troops in the eastern part of the alliance on NATO territory.”
The United States President was inaugurated hours after NATO revealed its plans. Joe Biden was also confirmedHe won’t send forces to Ukraine. There are approximately 90,000 American troops in Europe. The majority of these troops are based in Germany.
“If [Russian President Vladimir Putin] did move into NATO countries, we will be involved,” Biden said Thursday afternoon. “The good news is NATO is more united and more determined than ever.”
Why isn’t Ukraine in NATO?
Several of Ukraine’s neighboring countries that were part of the Soviet Union have joined NATO in recent years. But deepening conflict between Ukraine and Russia has complicated Ukraine’s own wish to be included in the alliance.
In 2008, NATO announced that Ukraine and Georgia would become members if they met a series of criteria, such as the alliance’s standards for governance and transparency. Joining NATO became a top priority for Ukraine, but the nation’s bid for membership has made little progress. Some NATO members have cited Ukraine’s History ofSome blame corruption for the delays, but others point to the fact that the country’s transition from a democracy in mid-1990s remains fragile. NATO’s other members fear Russia could react aggressively to Ukraine joining.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain BBC that the nation’s ambition to join NATO was met with threats and blackmail Russia.However Ukraine, 2019 Amended its constitutionIt will continue to push for NATO full membership.
Although NATO hasn’t taken in Ukraine, it has helped defend the nation against Russian aggression before. In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine, NATO responded by suspending cooperation with Russia and boosting Kyiv’s defensive capabilities. It provided military trainings and sent troops into the area, as well as funding cyberwarfare defenses. It did not participate militarily in the war.
“We are told the door is open,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week about the prospect of joining NATO. “But for now, no outsiders are allowed in.”
What do Articles 4 & 5 mean?
Experts believe that an attack against NATO countries would be unlikely. However, many member states have requested security consultations under Article 4 NATO treaty. Article 4 states that countries “will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”
Although it does not ensure that action will be taken under Article 4, consultations are allowed to allow for quick talks. Since 1949 when the alliance was established, it has been used six times. Most recently, in February 2020 by Turkey after many Turkish soldiers were massacred by opposition forces in north-western Syria.
At that time, member countries did not invoke Article 5, which outlines the alliance’s declaration that an attack against one member nation is considered an attack against all. Invoking Article 5 would mean all NATO countries vow to come together—most likely in warfare—if one member is attacked. This clause was only invoked after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Even though NATO has previously stated it would protect its members in the event of an attack, invoking Article 5 would mark a significant step.
“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the alliance from aggression,” Stoltenberg said. “Our collective defense commitment [under] Article 5 is ironclad.”
What is Russia’s stance on NATO?
Russia’s ambivalence towards NATO expansion stems largely from post-Cold War tension between the West and Russia.
Created in 1949 as a bulwark against the former Soviet Union, NATO has since grown to 30 countries—many of which were part of the Soviet Union or its satellites. Although that bloc no longer exists, NATO’s growth across Europe and its expansion eastward is seen by Russia as a threat to its national security.
In essence, Russia believes NATO’s primary aim is to make Russia weaker. It views any expansion of NATO as a direct threat to its own interests, and Ukrainian membership would likely mean that the country is brought further from Russia’s sphere of influence. Putin claimed in 2005 that the “collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.”
“As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama,” he said at an An annual addressthe Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. “Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.”