Russia launched broad attacks on Ukraine early Thursday morning local time, the culmination of weeks of a military buildup that prompted NATO members to deploy troops to Eastern Europe and send weapons and other aid to the government in Kyiv.
By Saturday, Kyiv was transforming into a war zone. Nearly 200 Ukrainians have been killed in fighting across the country, with more than 1,000 wounded, according to Ukraine’s health minister. And 100,000 have fled to Poland alone.
Stoltenberg on Friday announced that NATO would deploy troops from an alliance response force for the first time to shore up defenses in Eastern Europe.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the military alliance of mainly Western countries united by a mutual defense treaty. The current crisis is rooted in tensions between Russia and the West over NATO (or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) after the Cold War.
Since 1999, 14 nations have joined NATO, including Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria and the Baltic states. Russia demanded the NATO stop expanding to eastward and that Ukraine be excluded from it.