In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO has deployed forces to eastern European countries.

Here is what you need to know about NATO and the role it plays in the crisis.

What is NATO?: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a political and military alliance made up of 30 countries.

  • “NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means,” according to the NATO website.
  • Politically, the goal of NATO is to prevent conflict between countries through cooperation on defense and security-related issues.
  • NATO has crisis-management operations set in place, in which military forces and other sources can be sent to member countries in need.

A brief history: NATO banned together after WWII in 1949. In short, the goal of NATO was to deter Soviet expansionism through a strong North American appearance with Europe, and encouraging political integration between European countries, according to NATO.

What role does NATO play in the crisis between Russia and Ukraine?: Under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty set by NATO, an attack on one NATO country is considered an attack on them all.

  • Under this agreement, member countries are permitted to use whatever means necessary to ensure security for other NATO members. This can include the use of armed force.
  • Russia and Ukraine are not members of NATO. President Joe Biden stated that U.S. troops will not be sent to either country, but troops are being sent to NATO countries nearby, according to ABC News.
  • Under Article 5, in the case that Russia’s invasion seeps into nearby NATO countries, the U.S. will be ready to aid and defend its allies. This is known as the NATO Response Force, this being the first time the force has been activated, reported CNN.

NATO calls on Russia to cease assault: A NATO summit was held Friday to address the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the threat it poses to NATO.

  • “We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” reads a statement from the NATO Heads of State that was given during the summit.
  • NATO called on Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine and stop the attack.
  • NATO places full blame on Russia for this crisis, standing in support of Ukraine. “This long-planned attack on Ukraine, a peaceful and democratic country, is brutal and wholly unprovoked and unjustified. We deplore the tragic loss of life, enormous human suffering and destruction caused by Russia’s actions,” read the statement by the NATO Heads of State.