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News > World

A Timeline of NATO's Expansion Towards the Borders of Russia

  • Soldiers going on missions to NATO member countries.

    Soldiers going on missions to NATO member countries. | Photo: Twitter/ @PhilipCMead

Published 24 March 2022

Over the past 2 months, the United States and its European allies have been increasing their military support to countries that are in Russia's vicinity.

During the summit to be held in Brussels on Thursday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is preparing to approve the deployment of four new multinational battalions in Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria.


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After Crimea joined Russia in 2014, NATO deployed four battalions to these countries. So far this year, the process of strengthening the Alliance's presence near Russia has been marked by events such as the following:

- January 7: The United States accuses Russia of mobilizing 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and of having plans to "double" this figure in the short term.

- January 18-20: Russia sends troops to Belarus for joint exercises near the Ukrainian border and announces large-scale exercises throughout its national territory.

- January 21: Bulgaria asks Moscow to respect its status as a NATO member, after Russia demanded that it withdraw foreign troops to prevent the expansion of the Alliance.

- January 25: NATO sends more ships and planes to its eastern flank and allied countries put their forces "on alert" in the face of increased tension.

- January 28: President Volodimir Zelensky asks NATO to "openly say" whether Ukraine will be admitted as a member of that organization.

- February 1: President Vladimir Putin warns that Ukraine's entry into the Alliance would lead to a war between Russia and NATO for control of the Crimean peninsula.

- February 3: NATO warns of a large Russian military deployment in Belarus.

- February 10: Spain announces that four Eurofighter fighter planes will patrol from February 15 to April 31 in Bulgaria and six in Lithuania from April 1.

- February 11: The Alliance reinforces its presence in the Black Sea with 1,000 U.S. soldiers.

- February 22: NATO says Russia is "preparing a full-scale invasion of Ukraine."

- February 24: Russia begins a special military operation in Ukraine. NATO recalls that article 4 of its treaty is activated when one of its member countries is threatened. Denmark sends 200 soldiers to Estonia and two fighter planes to Poland on a NATO mission.

- February 25: NATO announces the deployment of elements of its Response Force in the eastern flank, for the first time in a "collective defense operation." France sends 800 soldiers and four fighters to allied countries.

- February 27: Putin orders to put the Russian containment forces in "special service regime" after the "aggressive declarations" of the main NATO countries, in reference to the sanctions imposed on Moscow. NATO members decide to increase their arms support to Ukraine.

- March 1: Zelensky asks NATO to impose a no-fly zone for "Russian missiles, planes and helicopters" in Ukraine. NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg reiterates that he will not send troops to that country, but will offer military support.

France deploys 500 soldiers in Romania for the NATO Response Force, and Russia demands that the U.S. withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe.

- March 4: The Alliance agrees that neither aircraft nor allied troops enter Ukraine and rules out participating in a no-fly zone.

- March 7: The U.S. announces the sending of 500 additional soldiers to countries on the eastern flank of NATO.

- March 10: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announces that two Patriot anti-missile batteries have been deployed in Poland.

- March 11: The European Union announces 1 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine.

- March 13: Russia bombed a military base in the Ukrainian city of Yavoriv, 20 km from the Polish border, where U.S. and NATO instructors had worked.

- March 15: Zelensky accepts that Ukraine will not join NATO but asks allies for more weapons.

- March 16: Stoltenberg acknowledges that the Alliance has a "responsibility" to ensure that the war does not spread beyond Ukraine. Russia demands that Ukraine renounce joining NATO and hosting foreign military bases.

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