NATO's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

  • Last updated: 08 Apr. 2022 14:01

NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine - which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country, and a close NATO partner. The Alliance calls on President Putin to stop this war immediately, withdraw all his forces from Ukraine without conditions and engage in genuine diplomacy.

This page contains information on NATO and its relationship with Ukraine, and the latest news on NATO and Allies’ responses to the ongoing crisis.

Relations with Ukraine

Relations with Ukraine

A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. Relations between NATO and Ukraine date back to the early 1990s and have since developed into one of the most substantial of NATO’s partnerships. Since 2014, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas.

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Frequently Asked Questions


  • 2. Why does NATO exist?

    NATO exists to defend its member countries and their one billion citizens. It does this by bringing together the governments and the armed forces of the 30 Allies, and by providing a security guarantee that an attack on one of them is an attack on all of them.

    Learn more: NATO’s purpose
    Learn more: Collective defence and Article 5

  • 3. Is Ukraine a NATO member?

    Ukraine is not a NATO member. Ukraine is a NATO partner country, which means that it cooperates closely with NATO but it is not covered by the security guarantee in the Alliance’s founding treaty.
     
    Learn more: Member countries
    Learn more: Partnerships

  • 4. What are NATO and Allies doing to help Ukraine?

    NATO is helping to coordinate Ukraine’s requests for assistance and is supporting Allies in the delivery of humanitarian and non-lethal aid. Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition, medical supplies and other vital military equipment to Ukraine, including in such areas as cybersecurity and protection against threats of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear nature. They are also providing millions of euros of financial assistance to Ukraine. Many Allies are also providing humanitarian aid to civilians and hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees. Allies are also supporting efforts for international investigation of atrocities, including by providing legal expertise to Ukraine.

    Learn more: Statement by NATO Heads of State and Government, 24 March 2022
    Learn more: NATO Allies agree to further strengthen and sustain support for Ukraine

  • 5. How has NATO supported Ukraine since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014?

    Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has helped to train, fund and reform Ukraine’s armed forces and defence institutions. Since 2016, these efforts have been organised through a Comprehensive Assistance Package that includes a wide range of capacity-building programmes and trust funds, focused in key areas like cyber defence, logistics and countering hybrid warfare. Ukrainian forces have also developed their capabilities by participating in NATO exercises and operations. 

    Learn more: Relations with Ukraine

  • 7. What are NATO and Allies doing to impose costs on Russia?

    NATO, along with the European Union and other partners, has helped coordinate Allies’ adoption of the unprecedented package of restrictive measures placed on Russia as a result of its brutal and unconscionable actions. These measures include massive and severe sanctions. Allies and partners have imposed unprecedented costs on Russia, starving the Kremlin’s war machine of resources. In a matter of weeks, President Putin has destroyed decades of economic progress for the Russian people, and Russia has now been hit by near-total isolation on the world stage. President Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is a terrible strategic mistake, for which Russia will pay a heavy price, both economically and politically, for years to come.

    Learn more: Statement by NATO Heads of State and Government, 24 March 2022

  • 8. What is NATO doing to defend its countries and citizens from potential Russian attacks?

    In response to Russia’s actions, Allies have activated NATO’s defence plans, deployed elements of the NATO Response Force, and placed 40,000 troops in the eastern part of the Alliance, along with significant air and naval assets, under direct NATO command supported by Allies’ national deployments. NATO is also establishing four multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, in addition to the existing battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The eight battlegroups will extend all along NATO’s eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. 

    NATO Allies are also increasing the resilience of their societies and infrastructure to counter Russia’s malign influence. This includes enhancing cyber capabilities and defences, and providing support to each other in the event of cyber attacks. Allies are ready to impose costs on those who harm them in cyberspace, and are increasing information exchange and situational awareness, enhancing civil preparedness, and strengthening their ability to respond to disinformation. NATO Allies will also enhance their preparedness and readiness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

    In addition to these immediate responses, NATO is also strengthening its deterrence and defence posture for the longer term, to face a more dangerous strategic reality. This will include significant developments in all domains – from major increases to forces on land, in the air and at sea, to stepping up cyber defences, to making the best use of space assets. These steps will be supported by enhanced exercises with an increased focus on collective defence and interoperability.

    NATO is not seeking a war with Russia. NATO is a defensive Alliance. All measures are and will remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory.

    Learn more: Deterrence and defence 
    Learn more: NATO Response Force
    Learn more: Resilience and Article 3

  • 9. What is NATO’s response to Russia’s dangerous rhetoric around nuclear, chemical and biological weapons?

    President Putin’s choice to put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert is a reckless and dangerous decision, for which there is no justification. NATO is not a threat to Russia and does not seek confrontation with Russia. The Alliance’s actions are defensive and a response to Russia’s aggression. So there is no reason for Russia to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces. Any use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. Russia must understand that a nuclear war should never been fought and that it can never win a nuclear war.

    Furthermore, the Russian foreign ministry’s claims about a Ukrainian biological weapons programme are baseless and absurd. Russia is once again inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its invasion of Ukraine. NATO will continue to call out Russia’s disinformation and lies for the world to see. Any use by Russia of a chemical or biological weapon would be a violation of international law and a war crime, and result in severe consequences. 

    Learn more: Weapons of mass destruction
    Learn more: Combined Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Task Force