Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents NATO with one of the greatest challenges it has faced in its 73-year history.
The war is taking place on the eastern border of NATO territory and many members of the alliance fear that Russia will attack them next.
NATO – which includes the US, UK, France and Germany – is sending additional troops to Eastern Europe.
However, the UK and US have said they have no plans to send troops to Ukraine.
What is NATO?
NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – is a military alliance formed in 1949 by 12 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France.
Members agree to assist each other in the event of an armed attack against one of the Member States.
Its purpose was originally to counter the threat of Russian expansion into Europe after the war.
In 1955, Soviet Russia responded to NATO by creating its own military alliance with the communist countries of Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of former Warsaw Pact countries switched sides and became members of NATO. The alliance now has 30 members.
What is Russia’s current problem with NATO and Ukraine?
Ukraine is a former Soviet republic which has common borders with Russia and the European Union.
It has a large population of ethnic Russians and maintains close social and cultural ties with Russia. From a strategic point of view, the Kremlin sees it as Russia’s backyard, and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently declared that Ukraine is really part of Russia.