Kiev claims NATO will defend arms convoys to Ukraine against Russia
If Russian forces launch an attack on a Western convoy delivering arms to Ukraine, NATO will consider this a reason to invoke Article 5 of the military bloc's treaty, which assures its members’ collective self-defense, Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, claimed on Sunday, citing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Today, the head of NATO… Mr. Stoltenberg has made a statement: if a single projectile, a single bullet hits a convoy that … [is delivering arms] to Ukraine, [NATO] will consider it a trigger for Article 5 [of the North Atlantic Treaty],” Danilov said while on air on Rada, the Ukrainian parliament's TV Channel.
Neither NATO nor Stoltenberg personally has made any public statements on Sunday confirming or denying Danilov’s assertion. The Ukrainian official’s statement comes a day after Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned that Russia would consider arms convoys heading for Ukraine to be “legitimate targets” for Russian forces. Ryabkov has not elaborated on whether the convoys could be targeted on Ukrainian territory or elsewhere.
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty says that “an armed attack against one or more” NATO members “in Europe or North America” shall be considered an attack on NATO as a whole and will warrant a response from each of the bloc’s members, “including the use of armed force.”
Previously, Stoltenberg has confirmed that “any attack against any NATO country, NATO territory … will trigger Article 5” after visiting a Latvian military base together with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of Spain and Latvia on March 8.
On March 9, he also said that the military bloc “decided to make clear that a cyberattack can trigger Article 5.” Stoltenberg has added, though, that NATO “will never give the privilege to a potential adversary to tell exactly where that threshold is.”
Earlier, and despite insistence from Kiev, the bloc rejected the idea of enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, pointing to the fact that it would lead to a direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned any outside forces that might be “tempted to meddle” in what Moscow calls an “operation” in Ukraine that Russia’s response to such actions would be “immediate” and would have consequences “never seen in history.” Four days later, Russia put its nuclear forces on high combat alert.
Moscow has launched its large-scale “operation” with the argument that it’s aimed at “demilitarizing” Ukraine in the name of protecting the people of the two Donbass republics Russia had earlier recognized. Kiev has blasted the move as a totally unprovoked act of aggression and said it had never planned to attack the two republics in the first place.