A reinforcement of troops on the eastern flank of the Atlantic Alliance and the double of the common border with NATO if the entry of Sweden and Finland is completed due to fear of Moscow’s behavior, are some of the the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to avoid.
“Putin gets the exact opposite of what he wants. He invaded Ukraine because he wanted less NATO on Russia’s borders. What he gets is more NATO. It is the aggressive actions, the threatening rhetoric of Russia, that has made many European nations decide to join NATO”, declared the Allied Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the end of April in a meeting with young people.
It is a message that Stoltenberg has been reiterating and it is that from the Alliance they emphasize that the Kremlin’s strategy of invading a neighboring country, considering that its possible entry into NATO would pose a threat to its own existence, has been a fiasco.
On May 18, the ambassadors of Sweden and Finland to NATO delivered their applications to join the Alliance at the headquarters of the transatlantic organization, in Brussels, leaving behind their historical neutrality in the field of defense.
NATO is confident that the accession process can go “very quickly”, overcoming the reservations maintained by Ankara, which considers that both countries support movements in the orbit of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey’s Kurdish guerrilla , also considered terrorist by the European Union and the United States.
Spain, host of the allied summit on June 29 and 30 in Madrid, hopes that both countries can participate in it as formal candidates, for which they must first sign their accession protocol.
Russia shares almost 1,400 kilometers of border with Finland, which implies that if the country enters NATO, the border with the Alliance would double; currently, it touches with allies Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition to having 49 kilometers of maritime border with the United States.
NATO considers as one of its greatest successes its “open door policy”, the fact of not denying the possibility that more countries want to be part of the protection offered by article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
That article of the founding treaty of the Alliance, which dates back to 1949, states that if one of the allies is attacked, the others will respond.
In addition, article 10 of that document establishes that NATO membership is open to any “European State that is in a position to promote the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic space.”
Since its creation in 1949, NATO’s membership has grown from 12 to 30 through eight rounds of enlargement, and currently three associated countries have declared their aspiration to join: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine.
At their 2008 summit in Bucharest, the Alliance’s heads of state and government already decided that Georgia and Ukraine would become members in the future.
The transatlantic perspective of republics that had belonged to the Soviet Union bothered Moscow, and in fact, before starting the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, it had already asked to exclude that possibility in a proposal to reorganize security in Europe.
Another consequence of the war in Ukraine that Putin did not want is the increase in allied troops in Eastern Europe, measures that NATO assures are preventive and proportionate.
In response to Russia’s actions, the allies have activated the organization’s defense plans, deployed elements of the Alliance Response Force and stationed 40,000 troops in the eastern part of the Alliance, along with significant air and naval forces, under the direct command of NATO and supported by national deployments.
In addition, NATO has decided to create four new multinational battalions in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, in addition to those already existing in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland -driven by the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014-, so which will extend along the entire eastern flank of NATO, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south.
NATO countries have also decided to strengthen their cyber capabilities and defenses and provide mutual support in the event of cyber attacks, given the malicious activities in this area that they have detected coming from Russia.
Likewise, they will improve their preparation and readiness in the face of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
But in the long term, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine will lead to changes in the Alliance’s defense and deterrence posture, which is expected to include significant increases in forces on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.