Article 5: What you need to know about the NATO duty to provide assistance



Article 5 is not a sure-fire success: everything you need to know about NATO’s duty to provide assistance

After the rocket hit Poland, the NATO countries are meeting for a special session on Wednesday morning. Will the joint defense according to Article 5 of the alliance treaty now be activated?

Military in increased readiness: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.

key stone

It is still unclear who fired the rocket that hit the Polish border village of Przewodow near Ukraine on Tuesday evening and killed two people. But NATO is alarmed and is holding a special meeting in Brussels. Is it now a matter of joint defense of Alliance territory?

The most important questions and answers about the famous Article 5 in the NATO treaty:

What does Article 5 regulate?

In the most important article of the treaty, the NATO allies state that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against them all”. So it regulates collective assistance: If a NATO member is attacked, the entire NATO is attacked.

Does Article 5 mean NATO’s automatic entry into the war?

no In the article is from “Measures (…) to restore or maintain the security of the North Atlantic area” the speech. These would include the use of force of arms. There is no automatic entry into the war for all NATO members. In any case, Article 5 is not a sure-fire success: if a country appeals to it, the NATO Council is convened and further steps are discussed politically.

Investigations are ongoing at the crash site in the Polish border village of Przewodow.

Investigations are ongoing at the crash site in the Polish border village of Przewodow.

key stone

Will Poland invoke Article 5?

Not until now. However, it is likely that Warsaw will activate Article 4 of the NATO treaty. This provides for consultations among the Allies, if after “If any of them believe that the integrity of the area, political independence or the security of any party is threatened.”

Article 4 has been invoked seven times since NATO was founded in 1949, mostly by Turkey, but most recently on February 24, the day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was requested at the time by Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. As a first reaction, however, Poland has already put parts of its armed forces on increased operational readiness.

How are the NATO allies reacting?

A special meeting chaired by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Most NATO allies have already declared their solidarity with Poland. One will “defend every centimeter of the common alliance area”, it was said in statements from the Baltic States, for example. The NATO states USA, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy and Spain as well as G7 member Japan met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

They condemned Russia’s “barbaric rocket attacks” on Ukraine and assured Poland of “full support and assistance” in investigating the impact. However, US President Joe Biden said at this point it was “unlikely” that it was launched from Russian territory based on the missile’s trajectory. In a phone call with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, Biden renewed the “iron commitment of the United States to NATO”.

“Unlikely” that a rocket was fired from Russia: US President Joe Biden comments on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

key stone

When did the NATO duty to provide assistance come into play?

The only time since NATO has been invoked that Article 5 has ever been invoked was after the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. The then 19 members unanimously decided on the alliance case and made the Islamist terrorist organization Al Qaeda with its leader Osama bin Laden for responsible for the attack. As a result, a US-led “coalition of the willing” launched Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001, and with it the war in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was hiding. An official NATO mission to stabilize Afghanistan followed later. Last year, the United States and other NATO countries withdrew their troops from Afghanistan.