NATO's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

  • Last updated: 19 Jul. 2024 15:46

NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's brutal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine - which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country, and a close NATO partner. NATO and Allies continue to provide Ukraine with unprecedented levels of support, helping to uphold its fundamental right to self-defence.

NATO Ukraine

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


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 32 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

  • 4. Will Ukraine join NATO?

    Yes. NATO member states (called ‘NATO Allies’) agreed at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, noting that its next step would be to submit an application to the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a NATO programme covering political, economic, defence, resource, security and legal reforms of aspirant countries. At the 2023 Vilnius Summit, Allies removed the requirement for Ukraine to pursue a MAP, which will change Ukraine’s membership path from a two-step process to a one-step process. At the 2024 Washington Summit, Allies stated that they will continue to support Ukraine on its irreversible path to NATO membership, reaffirming that they will be in a position to extend an invitation for Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met.  

    Learn more: Relations with Ukraine
    Learn more: Enlargement and Article 10

  • 5. What are NATO and Allies doing to help Ukraine defend itself?

    NATO is helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia's war of aggression by coordinating the delivery of aid from Allies and partners to Ukraine. Together, NATO Allies account for 99% of all military aid to Ukraine.

    Through NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) and related funds, Allies have pledged around EUR 800 million (approximately USD 870 million) to meet Ukraine's critical needs for non-lethal aid, including cold-weather clothing, body armour, fuel, transport vehicles, secure communications, combat rations, demining equipment and medical supplies. In addition, under the CAP, Allies have committed to supporting Ukraine further with a multi-year assistance programme, which will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era to NATO standards, training and doctrines; help rebuild Ukraine's security and defence sector; and continue to cover critical needs. NATO has also upgraded political ties by establishing the NATO-Ukraine Council, a forum for crisis consultation and decision-making where all NATO members and Ukraine sit as equals. 

    NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition and many types of light and heavy military equipment to Ukraine, including anti-tank and air defence systems, howitzers, drones, tanks and fighter jets. NATO's Article 5 security guarantee and its iron-clad promise of collective defence provides Allies with the confidence that they can send weapons to Ukraine without diminishing their own security. Furthermore, Allied forces are training Ukrainian troops to use this equipment. All of this is making a difference on the battlefield every day, helping Ukraine to uphold its right of self-defence, which is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. To coordinate all of these equipment donations and the training of Ukrainian forces, Allies have agreed to establish NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine (NSATU), which will be based in Wiesbaden, Germany and have logistics hubs in the east of the Alliance, staffed by nearly 700 personnel from Allied and partner countries.

    To ensure that all of this support continues, Allies have made a Pledge of Long-Term Security Assistance for Ukraine. Under this Pledge, Allies have agreed to provide a minimum baseline funding of EUR 40 billion within the next year, and to provide sustainable levels of security assistance for Ukraine to prevail.

    Many Allies are also providing humanitarian aid to civilians and hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees. Allies are working with relevant stakeholders in the international community to hold accountable all those responsible for war crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence. Allies have also worked closely to support international efforts to enable exports of Ukrainian grain and to alleviate the global food crisis.

    In the longer term, the Alliance is committed to assisting Ukraine and supporting efforts on its path of post-war reconstruction and reforms. All of these initiatives constitute a bridge to Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

    Learn more: Washington Summit Declaration, 10 July 2024 – including Pledge of Long-Term Security Assistance for Ukraine
    Learn more: Vilnius Summit Communiqué, 11 July 2023
    Learn more: Madrid Summit Declaration, 29 June 2022
    Learn more: Statement by NATO Heads of State and Government, 24 March 2022

  • 6. 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 reform Ukraine’s armed forces and defence institutions, including with equipment and financial support. Allies have also provided training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian forces have also developed their capabilities by participating in NATO exercises and operations. Since 2016, NATO’s support has been organised through a Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP), which includes a wide range of capacity-building programmes and trust funds, focused on key areas like cyber defence, logistics and countering hybrid warfare. Allied Leaders agreed a strengthened CAP at the 2022 Madrid Summit, and further support to Ukraine under the CAP at the 2023 Vilnius Summit and 2024 Washington Summit.

    Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, NATO and Allies have been providing unprecedented levels of support to Ukraine (see FAQ #5 above).

    Learn more: Relations with Ukraine

  • 7. What is NATO’s position on Ukraine’s occupied territories?

    Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO has adopted a firm position in full support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The Allies strongly condemn and do not recognise Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, and denounce its temporary occupation.

    NATO also condemns Russia’s illegal attempt to annex four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – in September 2022, which is the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since the Second World War. The sham referenda in these regions were engineered in Moscow and imposed on Ukraine. They have no legitimacy, and NATO does not recognise them. These lands are Ukraine and will always be Ukraine. The overwhelming vote in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s attempted annexations sent a clear and strong message that Russia is isolated and that the world stands with Ukraine, in defence of the rules-based international order.

    Learn more: Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the so-called “referenda” in parts of Ukraine
    Learn more: NATO Secretary General condemns Russia’s illegal attempts to annex Ukrainian territory

  • 8. Why isn’t NATO sending troops or closing the skies over Ukraine?

    NATO’s actions are defensive, designed not to provoke conflict but to prevent conflict. The Alliance has a responsibility to ensure that this war does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine, which would be even more devastating and dangerous. Enforcing a no-fly zone or deploying combat troops to Ukraine would bring NATO forces into direct conflict with Russia. This would significantly escalate the war and lead to more human suffering and destruction for all countries involved.

    Learn more: NATO Secretary General press conference, 23 March 2022

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

    NATO Allies and partners have imposed unprecedented costs on Russia, including severe sanctions that are helping starve the Kremlin’s war machine of resources. Allies continue to refine the sanctions in order to increase the pressure on Moscow. These efforts will make it harder for Russia to rebuild its tanks, manufacture missiles and finance its war.

    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

  • 10. What is NATO doing to enhance the defence of its countries and citizens?

    Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Allies activated NATO’s defence plans and deployed thousands of extra troops from both sides of the Atlantic. NATO rapidly established four new multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, in addition to the existing battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The eight battlegroups extend all along NATO’s eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. Today, NATO has 500,000 troops at high readiness working across all domains – land, sea, air, cyber and space.

    At the 2022 Madrid Summit, Allies agreed a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defence. This included strengthening forward defences, preparing the battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance to be enhanced from battalions up to brigade level, transforming the NATO Response Force and increasing the number of high-readiness forces to well over 300,000. These forces will be underpinned by more pre-positioned equipment and supplies; more forward-deployed capabilities; and upgraded defence plans, with forces pre-assigned to defend specific Allies. All of this constitutes the biggest overhaul of Allied collective defence and deterrence since the Cold War.

    At the 2023 Vilnius Summit, Allies built upon their Madrid decisions by approving new regional defence plans to counter the two main threats to the Alliance: Russia and terrorism. NATO Leaders also pledged to invest a minimum of 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually on defence, and endorsed a Defence Production Action Plan to accelerate joint procurement, boost interoperability and generate investment and production capacity. Under this Action Plan, Allies have agreed more than USD 10 billion in framework contracts, covering critical needs like 155 mm artillery, anti-tank guided missiles and main battle tank ammunition.

    At the 2024 Washington Summit, Allies reaffirmed their commitment to investing 2% of GDP in defence (noting that two thirds of Allies have reached that threshold) and pledged to expand their defence industrial capacity to urgently deliver the most critical capabilities. They welcomed the progress made since the Madrid and Vilnius Summits on reinforcing and modernising NATO for a new era of collective defence, and agreed to further enhance NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence with new ballistic missile defence assets, and to boost NATO’s cyber defence with a new NATO Integrated Cyber Defence Centre.

    NATO Allies are also increasing the resilience of their societies and infrastructure. This includes enhancing cyber capabilities and defences, and providing support to each other in the event of cyber attacks. Following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, Allies have enhanced their naval presence in the Baltic and North Seas, and are increasing security around other key installations and pieces of critical infrastructure. NATO members are stepping up intelligence-sharing and surveillance across all domains, to ensure the protection of critical undersea and energy infrastructure. Allies are also enhancing their preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, strengthening their energy security, and boosting resilience to hybrid threats, including disinformation.

    Learn more: Deterrence and defence 
    Learn more: NATO’s military presence in the east of the Alliance
    Learn more: Resilience and Article 3
    Learn more: NATO’s role in defence industry production

  • 12. What is NATO’s position on countries supporting Russia’s war?

    NATO condemns all those who are facilitating, and thereby prolonging, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

    Belarus continues to enable Russia’s war by making available its territory and infrastructure, including for Russia’s announced stationing of nuclear weapons in Belarus.

    North Korea and Iran are fuelling Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine by providing direct military support to Russia, such as munitions and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).

    The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine through its so-called “no limits” partnership and its large-scale support for Russia’s defence industrial base, including the transfer of dual-use materials, such as weapons components, equipment and raw materials that serve as inputs for Russia’s defence sector. The PRC cannot enable the largest war in Europe in recent history without this negatively impacting its interests and reputation.

    NATO Allies urge all countries not to provide any kind of assistance to Russia’s aggression.

    Learn more2024 Washington Summit Declaration


Relations with Ukraine

Relations with Ukraine

The security of Ukraine is of great importance to NATO and its member states. The Alliance fully supports Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence, and its right to choose its own security arrangements. Ukraine’s future is in NATO. 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 Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, NATO and Allies have provided unprecedented levels of support.

more >>