Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, declared a “brutal act of war” by NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg, shocked the world with a large-scale military attack on the country from air, land and sea.
As Western allies continue to brandish new sanctions on Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of the formation of a new iron curtain across Europe as the continent has witnessed a scale of attacks not seen since World War II.
Members of the Ukrainian government have stressed that the country cannot deter attacks by Russia and its nearly 1.5 million army, pleading with its European and global allies for tougher sanctions and further support.
That’s where Ukraine is, the countries bordering Ukraine, and why the country is not in NATO.
Ukrainian Crisis: What is NATO and what is its purpose, which NATO countries…
Where is Ukraine?
Ukraine is located in eastern Europe and is bordered to the east by Russia – the largest country in the world – and bordered by the Black and Azov Seas to the south.
Due to its location next to Russia, the country was formerly part of the Soviet Union and was one of its founding members when the USSR was created in 1922.
Ukraine did not gain independence from the Soviet Union, on the eastern, communist side of the Iron Curtain, until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
So far, military shelling on Thursday, February 24, has occurred in a number of large cities in Ukraine, including Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa, which were hit by rocket fire on Thursday, as well as in the annexed Crimean peninsula.
And as of Thursday evening, Russian troops had reportedly seized the infamous Chernobyl nuclear facility, located about 80 miles north of Ukraine’s capital Kiev, after Ukrainian forces lost control of the facility.
What countries border Ukraine?
Ukraine borders Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, Slovakia to the west, and Hungary and Moldova to the southwest.
It is surrounded by Russia on its eastern and northeastern border, and the southeastern region of Donbass, including areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions recognized by Russia as independent republics on Monday (February 21), faced the first wave of Russian invasion of Ukraine. This week.
Why is Ukraine not in NATO?
While Ukraine seeks to become a member of the Western Allies’ North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in particular to help it fight the big military threat posed by Russia, it has not yet been accepted into the military and security coalition of countries.
Countries must go through a lengthy process of reaffirming their security and military policies through the NATO Membership Action Plan, which is open to European states that join and are deemed to advance NATO’s mission.
However, Ukraine is a NATO “enhanced partner”, which gives it the right to enjoy the same status as non-NATO countries such as Sweden, Australia, Finland and Georgia.
This means that while Ukraine will not be able to receive the same military commitments as NATO members, it is in a unique position to “dialogue and cooperate” with the organization.