The Speaker
Friday, 24 May 2024 – 23:01

The role of NATO in Ukrainian politics

The political relations between The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Ukraine were formally established in 1992 upon Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, following its regained independence. The strong partnership between the two parties became evident as NATO and its allies have given unprecedented levels of support following Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022.

To begin with, The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was established in 1949 by the United States, Canada and multiple Western European nations in order to provide security against the Soviet Union. The notion of collective defence, solidarity and autonomy are deeply rooted in the common values of the military alliance, namely; individual liberty, democracy, human rights and rule of law.  It is thus clear that the violent actions taken by Vladomir Purtin would essentially force NATO to intervene. In addition to that, NATO and Ukraine share similar values and beliefs in regards to Russia’s previous, illegitimate seizure of Crimea. 

History is a crucial factor which must be considered in order to entirely understand the role which NATO plays in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Over the past three decades, the two parties have greatly solidified their political cooperation.

For instance, in 2014 when NATO, as a response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, increased its presence in the Black Sea and improved maritime cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia. In addition to that, it was during the 2021 Brussels Summit when NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance. However, Ukraine’s decision to act as a sovereign and autonomous state by taking steps to join NATO, was considered as an act of defiance to the Russian Government, resulting in the 2022 international conflict.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 marked a drastic escalation of the nations’ eight-year old conflict and acted as a major turning point for global security. According to some analysts, Russia’s invasion was a result of the Kremlin’s resentment toward NATO’s expansion into the former Soviet Union’s area of influence. Nevertheless, on the 30th September 2022 Volodymyr Zelenski has announced that Ukraine is officially applying for a membership of NATO, describing the application as a “decisive step” in order to protect “the entire community”. However, the military alliance is unlikely to proceed promptly with the membership application whilst Ukraine remains in the state of war.

In terms of military support, NATO acts as an administrative and coordinative body. The alliance organizes and supports the member states in the delivery of humanitarian aid. NATO’s Article 5 states that an attack on one, is an attack on all; ensuring that member states are effectively protected from external attacks whilst supporting Ukraine with military aid. NATO’s allies are additionally providing billions of euros of financial support, supporting exports of Ukrainian products to ease the global economic crisis and hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees. It is evident that NATO has played a significant role in Ukraine’s political affairs since the 1990s, its response to the current crisis indicates that NATO continues to prove its major influence as a  political partner.

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