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Russian invasion: What is NATO's Article 5?


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As Russia has begun to unleash its attack on parts of the eastern European country of Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has said it is committed to Article 5 of its founding treaty, although the clause does not apply to Ukraine.

Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty is known as “the principle of collective defence.” It obliges all member countries to come to the aid of another member whose sovereignty or territorial integrity might be under threat.

NATO defines it as being “at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty.”

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A Ukrainian soldiers passes by houses in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. 

A Ukrainian soldiers passes by houses in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

“It remains a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together,” according to the NATO definition, “committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance.”

The definition adds: “Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.”

But Ukraine is not a NATO member country. 

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While Ukraine has contributed to NATO operations and missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, this is not enough to warrant the protection of NATO’s shield.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken spoke Thursday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, when the pair spoke about further plans to bolster the security of allied territory, “especially on NATO’s Eastern Flank,” the U.S. Department of State said in a press release.

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In a press release posted on NATO’s website on Thursday, titled “Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” the organization condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Russia’s attack, calling it “entirely unjustified and unprovoked.” 

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS IMAGES THAT ARE GRAPHIC IN NATURE

NATO went on to call the attack a “grave” violation of international law and the United Nations Charter and added: “It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country.” 

In addition to urging Russia to stand down, NATO said its commitment to Article 5 is “iron-clad.” 

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The organization added: “We stand united to defend each other.” 

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Jodie Curtis contributed to this report.

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