News / Europe

NATO Benefit to Ukraine in Question

The NATO symbol and flags of the NATO nations outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
The NATO symbol and flags of the NATO nations outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine has forced NATO for the first time since the collapse of the Berlin Wall to increase its ability to defend the territorial integrity of its 28-member states.
 
The measures taken include sending 600 American troops for military exercises in the Baltic States and Poland.
 
In addition, the United States has dispatched 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland.  Washington has also approved an aid package for Ukraine which includes $8 million dollars in non-lethal supplies such as bomb detection equipment and hand-held radios.
 
It comes as part of reaction from the West to Russian backing of the annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists spreading mayhem in eastern Ukraine.
 
NATO measures not enough
 
But Stephen Blank, Russia expert with the American Foreign Policy Council, said the NATO measures are not enough.
 
“I don’t think it sends much of a message at all. It’s a reassurance message for the Poles and the Baltic States. It does not deter [Russian President Vladimir] Putin at all,” Blank said. “What would deter Putin is if NATO sent ground and air forces and air defenses to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government.  That would register in Moscow, but they are not going to do that.”
 
Ian Brzezinski, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, said there are several other steps NATO can take to help Ukraine.
 
“These would include first and foremost providing military assistance to the Ukrainians that goes beyond non-lethal assistance,” he said. “I would include anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, things that would really complicate Russian military operations in Ukraine.”
 
“Second, I would encourage the West, ideally NATO, but perhaps a coalition of European and North American countries, to deploy intelligence assets - platforms, ISR platforms - intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platforms in Ukraine and trainers,” Brzezinski said.
 
NATO's collective defense policy
 
NATO’s 28-members are committed to the notion of “collective defense,” contained in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.
 
But Ohio Wesleyan University Russia expert Sean Kay, said Article 5 is not an automatic security guarantee.
 
“If you look carefully at Article 5, it says that an attack on one will be considered as if it’s an attack on all and that the allies will meet and consult on the appropriate response, including military,” he said. “The way that was made automatic during the Cold War, was through the forward deployment of major U.S. troops at the inner-German border. Today, our policy is one of reinforcement and symbolic forward presence, now with those rotational exercises [in the Baltic States and Poland].”
 
Kay said he does not believe the Western alliance will deploy a huge number of troops in NATO-member east European countries, even if the crisis between Ukraine and Russia intensifies.
 
“We would have to be very careful about that, because we might think even if the United States wants to do that, we would not get consensus among the NATO allies for something like that,” Kay said.  “And we have to do that in a way that keeps that consensus going too, because NATO could break apart politically if pushed too hard on that question."
 
Ukraine crisis not yet Cold War
 
Charles Kupchan, with Georgetown University, said by annexing Crimea and attempting to destabilize eastern Ukraine, Russia has bared its teeth in a way that it has not done since the Cold War era.
 
“Many people are now saying we now need to deal with Russia with both eyes wide open.  We need now to take out of the closet NATO’s plans for defense of its eastern frontier,” he said. “We need to contemplate a set of political and economic steps for response should Putin go into eastern Ukraine and continue to stir up trouble.”
 
Kupchan said the current crisis falls short of a new Cold War, but he said it does have the potential to go in a worrisome direction, depending on the Kremlin’s next moves.

Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More