After a series of air, land, and sea attacks from Russia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders to attack Ukraine and destroy its military installations, NATO has stated that it has no plans to send troops to Ukraine to help repel the Russian army amidst the Russian onslaught.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 24, 2022
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his concern about the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. “Russia has attacked Ukraine. This is a brutal act of war. Our thoughts are with the brave people of Ukraine. Peace on our continent has been shattered. This is a deliberate, cold-blooded, and long-planned invasion. Russia is using force to try to rewrite history,” the Secretary-General said.
“NATO allies condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. It is a blatant violation of international law. An act of aggression against a sovereign, independent, and peaceful country and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” he boldly stated.
Furthermore, he emphasized that while he and NATO were concerned about the military operation happening in Kyiv, he also stated, “There are no NATO combat troops, no NATO troops at all inside Ukraine. We have made it clear that we don’t have any plans and intention of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine.”
This is in line with what US President Joe Biden had stated during his announcement of US sanctions on Russia following its recognition of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, that the US was only offering defensive assistance to Ukraine.
“We have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message though — that the United States, together with our allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO,” said the President. Note that Ukraine is not a NATO member and thus cannot technically be defended by the US and NATO allies.
Despite this, a movement of US forces who are already in Europe was undertaken, with 800 troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Italy being sent to the Baltics, specifically to US allies Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, to help strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Eight additional F-35A Lightning II fighter jets stationed in Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, were also moved to NATO’s eastern flank, joining the US Air Force’s F-15s and F-16s deployed to Eastern Europe earlier this February. Twenty AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were sent to the Baltics and 12 AH-64s to Poland.
Additionally, 20 AH-64s will forward deploy to the Baltic region from Germany, and 12 AH-64s to Poland from Greece.
— Brian Everstine (@beverstine) February 22, 2022
This development comes after Russian troops, along with heavy military vehicles, tanks, and equipment, have crossed from Belarus and Crimea into Ukrainian soil. Missiles and bombs were reportedly heard all-throughout major Ukrainian cities as the Russians were destroying Ukraine’s air defenses.
These statements come after Putin alleged that the reason behind his decision to attack Ukraine and destroy military targets, including military warehouses and air defenses, was because the Kyiv government was controlled by the Nazi-supporting Ukrainians. He described the Ukrainian leadership as neo-Nazis who were constantly attacking the people and leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. Putin claimed that the attack was for the “demilitarisation and denazification” of the country, which previously stated, had no historical legitimacy. Invoking the Nazis in his remarks is a reference to the fact that when Ukraine was overrun by Nazi Germany in 1941 a considerable number of Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis to fight against the Soviet Union. During the Russification stage of the Soviet Union consolidating its possessions, millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviets for trying to retain their language and culture.
Putin also leveled a new threat against NATO and the United States should it attempt to offer active military assistance to Ukraine.
“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside: if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me,” the Russian leader said. While he did say that the Kremlin did not have plans to occupy Ukraine, reports of ground troops moving in from all directions were reported to be marching into major cities.
Despite Stoltenberg stating that they will not be deploying troops to the region, he reported that NATO would take a defensive strategy to deter Russia.
“We have decided, in line with our defensive planning to protect all allies, to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defense across the alliance. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate, and non-escalatory,” said the NATO leader. These defensive plans were originally made for Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea. However, they did not make these plans public. Sources have said that these plans include mobilizing NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force comprised of 40,000 soldiers and a highly-trained unit of 7,000 personnel from France.
Additionally, it is important to note that some of NATO’s members are directly helping Ukraine fight the Russians off by supplying arms, ammunition, and equipment. However, NATO as an organization is not directly supplying them with anything. Furthermore, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had expressed their support for Zelensky and the Ukrainian people saying, “We would need to urgently provide Ukrainian people with weapons, ammunition and any other kind of military support to defend itself as well as economic, financial and political assistance and support, humanitarian aid,” they said in a joint statement.
“So Russia has shut the door to a political solution. We regret that. But that’s, sadly, the reality, which has severe and very serious consequences for the people of Ukraine, but also actually impacts the security for all of us,” he explained.
Regardless of NATO’s military support, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that they will defend every inch of their territory despite being outnumbered. “We know for sure that we don’t need the war. Not a Cold War, not a hot war. Not a hybrid one. If they [Russia] attack, if they try to take our county—our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children—we will be defending ourselves. Not attack, but defend ourselves. As you attack, it will be our faces you see, not our backs,” he announced.
The situation in Russia remains fluid and developing and we will follow it closely.
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