How is NATO assisting Ukraine, and what is it

In the distance, a Ukrainian soldier uses a self-propelled gun to aim at a target

NATO defense ministers are meeting to discuss ways to give Ukraine more weapons and ammunition.

To aid the nation in defending itself against Russia, a number of member states are supplying Ukraine with weapons, including tanks and missile systems.

A defensive military alliance, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), was formed. Twelve nations, including the US, UK, Canada, and France, came together to form it in 1949.

Members consent to aid one another in the event of an attack.

After World War Two, the organization's initial objective was to oppose Russian expansion in Europe. .

Many of the former Warsaw Pact allies of Russia in Eastern Europe were granted membership in NATO following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russia has long maintained that the inclusion of these nations by Nato jeopardizes its security. It vehemently opposed Ukraine's application to join the alliance because it thought it would intrude too much on its territory.

Map showing Nato expansion in Europe

A large number of the alliance's members have given Ukraine ammunition and weapons.

The US is sending 31 Abrams tanks, the UK is sending 14, Germany is sending 14, Norway is sending 8, and the US is sending 31.

The US has additionally sent Bradley and Stryker armored fighting vehicles.

Long-range missile systems like Himars and the M142, which have been hitting targets behind Russia's front lines, have also been sent to Ukraine by the US and the UK.

A Ukrainian soldier
An underground Himars launcher in eastern Ukraine.

Howitzers and self-propelled guns have been supplied by several Nato nations, and Turkey has sold Bayraktar TB2 armed drones.

For the purpose of shooting down Russian cruise missiles and drones over Ukraine, the US and other countries have provided air defense systems like Patriot and Starstreak.

In the spring of 2022, the anti-tank weapons that the US and UK provided, like Javelin and Nlaw, were essential in halting Russia's advance on Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

But according to Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of NATO, Ukraine is currently consuming ammunition faster than member states can supply it.

According to estimates, Ukraine may be particularly low on 155mm artillery shells. As a result, the US and UK are requesting more production from their own domestic manufacturers.

Out of concern for starting a direct conflict with Russia, NATO nations are not sending troops to Ukraine.

For the same reason, they also declined to run a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Turkish fighter jets on patrol for Nato over Poland
NATO's military defenses in eastern Europe have been strengthened.

NATO nations have stationed 40,000 troops in eastern Europe, on the soil of alliance members like Lithuania and Poland, since Russia's invasion.

Additionally, they have 300,000 more soldiers in Europe on high alert.

Ukraine was told by NATO in 2008 that it could become a member of the alliance in the future, but the organization rejected its most recent request for "fast-track" membership.

This is so that Article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that all members must defend an attacked member, can be applied.

In theory, Nato members would have to attack Russia if Ukraine was admitted.

Finland and Russia share a 1,340 km (833 mi) land border, while Sweden and Russia are separated by the Baltic Sea.

Both believed it was safer to remain neutral nations for seven decades than to join NATO.

However, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, they pleaded for quick admission to the alliance.

Graphic showing Finland and Sweden's armed forces

More than 200 combat aircraft and 280,000 additional soldiers (including reservists) would be added to NATO's forces by the two nations.

Any new member of NATO must receive the approval of all 30 members, which 28 nations have already done. Only Hungary and Turkey have not yet done so.

The Turkish government claims that "terrorist" Turkish nationals are being held in Sweden and Finland and demands their extradition.

If Turkey and Hungary continue to oppose Finland and Sweden's membership, Professor Tracey German of King's College London warns that it could be dangerous.

"Keeping [them] in this grey area, where they have no defense from Nato's collective security guarantees, is putting [them] in an awkward position," she claims.

"They might be susceptible to pressure or interference from Russia.

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