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Why NATO Isn’t Sending Troops to Ukraine

Context:

Amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has been rapidly deploying troops to member countries across eastern Europe but has clarified that it has no plans of sending them to Ukraine itself.

Relevance:

GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About NATO
  2. Major pointers regarding NATO
  3. What is NATO’s problem with Russia?

About NATO

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is an international organisation for collective security by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington.
  • NATO’s Headquarters are located in Evere, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30 member states with North Macedonia being the most recent member state to be added to NATO in March 2020.
  • An additional 20 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs.

Major pointers regarding NATO

  • A key provision of the treaty, the so-called Article 5, states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members. That effectively put Western Europe under the “nuclear umbrella” of the US.
  • From a political perspective: NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
  • The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the body which has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO, consisting of member states’ permanent representatives or representatives at higher level (ministers of foreign affairs or defence, or heads of state or government).
  • All 30 allies have an equal say, the Alliance’s decisions must be unanimous and consensual, and its members must respect the basic values that underpin the Alliance, namely democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
  • NATO has an integrated military command structure but very few forces or assets are exclusively its own. Most forces remain under full national command and control until member countries agree to undertake NATO-related tasks.
Why has Article 5 not been invoked this time?
  • Ukraine is a partner of the Western defence alliance but not a NATO member.
  • As a result, Article 5, or the Collective Defense Pledge, does not apply.
What may prompt NATO to invoke Article 5?
  • NATO will invoke Article 5 only if Russia launches a full-blown attack on one of its allies.
  • Some top US officials have warned of the impact of some of Russia’s cyberattacks being felt in NATO countries.

What is NATO’s problem with Russia?

  • Russia has long been opposed to Ukraine’s growing closeness with European institutions, particularly NATO.
  • The former Soviet republic shares borders with Russia on one side, and the European Union on the other.
  • After Moscow launched its attack, the US and its allies were quick to respond, imposing sanctions on Russia’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds.
  • US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said in a statement, “The unprecedented action we are taking today will significantly limit Russia’s ability to use assets to finance its destabilizing activities, and target the funds Putin and his inner circle depend on to enable his invasion of Ukraine.”

-Source: Indian Express

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September 2022
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