NATO's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine
NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's brutal and unprovoked war against 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 and engage in genuine diplomacy.
This page contains information about NATO and its relationship with Ukraine, and the latest news on NATO and Allies’ responses to the ongoing crisis.
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.more
Frequently Asked Questions
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
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 and many types of light and heavy military equipment, including anti-tank and anti-air systems, howitzers and drones. To date, NATO Allies have provided and committed billions of dollars of military equipment to Ukraine. 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.
Furthermore, Allies are sending medical supplies and other vital equipment to Ukraine, including in such areas as cyber security and protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. 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.
NATO Allies have agreed to step up and sustain their support for as long as necessary, so that Ukraine can prevail.
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
Learn more: NATO Foreign Ministers reaffirm Ukraine support
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. Since 2016, NATO’s support has been organised through a Comprehensive Assistance Package, which includes a wide range of capacity-building programmes and trust funds, focused on 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
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 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
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.
These sanctions have been effective. The Russian economy is shrinking. Consumer prices have risen. Many Western companies have pulled out of Russia, and many Russian professionals have left. In a matter of weeks, President Putin has destroyed decades of economic progress for the Russian people. 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
In response to Russia’s actions, Allies have activated NATO’s defence plans and deployed thousands of extra troops from both sides of the Atlantic. NATO has also deployed high-readiness elements of the NATO Response Force for the first time in a deterrence and defence role. Over 40,000 troops, along with significant air and naval assets, are now under direct NATO command in the eastern part of the Alliance, supported by Allies’ national deployments. NATO has 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 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?
Russia’s threatening nuclear rhetoric in its war on Ukraine is dangerous and irresponsible. The Kremlin sees nuclear threats as an all-purpose response to setbacks. 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 by Russia would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict, and it would have unprecedented consequences for Russia. Russia must understand that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never been fought.
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.
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