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What is NATO’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict?

NATO is believed to be driving the Russia-Ukraine situation, despite neither country being a member.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, was expected to play a major role in avoiding and deterring war. Nyet!

Neither Ukraine nor Russia are members of NATO, but the organisation is believed to be driving the situation.  NATO, its role, and ineffectiveness in safeguarding Ukraine – viewed as a cause for the Russian invasion.

NATO

“Guaranteeing the freedom and security of its members by political and military means”, says NATO. It has 30 members including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.

According to its website, it serves two purposes: political and military. Members may confer and collaborate on defence and security matters in order to “solve difficulties, create confidence and avert conflict.”

It is “committed to peaceful settlement of disputes” under military. If diplomatic attempts fail, it claims military capacity to handle crises.
If a NATO member is attacked, it will be considered as an invasion of all NATO members and action will be done.

Why isn’t NATO protecting Ukraine ?

Because Ukraine isn’t in NATO yet.

Ukraine has wanted membership since 2008, and it was promised. Former US President George W Bush campaigned for Ukraine to be included in the MAP. But France and Germany objected, citing qualifying rules. The ‘principle of collective defence’ does not apply to Ukraine, a non-member but friend.

  • Ukraine joined NATO in 1991 and signed the Partnership for Peace in 1994. Ukraine has yet to join NATO. President Volodymyr
  • Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy recently requested a MAP decision.
    Russia had joined the NACC and the Partnership for Peace but not NATO.
  • After the fall of the USSR, Russia and NATO founded the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). After the 1999 Kosovo conflict, 2008 military intervention against Georgia, and the 2014 invasion of Crimea, NATO expelled Russia from the cooperation council.

The relationship between the US-dominated NATO and Russia became tense as Russia and the US polarised.

Why would Ukraine seek to join NATO?

Ukraine is split between eastern and western regions, with the former closer to Russia and the latter nearer the EU. Russia-backed insurgents control large swaths of eastern Ukraine. Russia just recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as distinct territories.

Russia’s army is big, while the Ukrainian army is little. Russia’s defence spending significantly dwarfs Ukraine’s. Without a doubt, Ukraine confronts an army it cannot defeat. So it needs an organisation like NATO, which offers a defence alliance for its members.

What role does NATO play?

NATO has continually expanded since its founding. Russian President Vladimir Putin opposes the expansion. He feels the US is threatening it with missiles, as if it were threatening Canada or Mexico. Russia will be surrounded if Ukraine joins NATO.

The NATO alliance’s army and Russia’s army are not comparable. Putin wants NATO to ensure Ukraine won’t join. He wants the EU to cease expanding into Eastern Europe and NATO to stop arming its neighbours.

Russia has also questioned 14 nations’ Warsaw Pact membership, ratified in 1955 in reaction to NATO’s creation. The dissolution of the USSR rendered the pact obsolete.