DISINFO: NATO is not a defensive alliance
  • Outlet: oroszhirek.hu (archived)*
  • Date of publication: January 30, 2022
  • Article language(s): Hungarian
  • Reported in: Issue 271
  • Countries / regions discussed: Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan
NATO Cold War Russophobia UN

DISINFO: NATO is not a defensive alliance


NATO lost its defensive character after the end of the Cold War. Moreover, NATO can hardly be called a defence alliance, given its operations in Yugoslavia, Libya, and Afghanistan.


This is part of a recurring Pro-Kremlin disinformation claim that NATO is aggressive. Contrary to the claim, NATO is indeed a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. NATO's exercises and military deployments are not directed against Russia – or any other country.

The former Yugoslavia did not break up because of NATO. The Alliance did not use military force to change borders in the former Yugoslavia. From 1992 to 1995, NATO conducted several military operations in Bosnia, including enforcing a no-fly zone and providing air support for UN peacekeepers. These activities were mandated by the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a member too.

NATO airstrikes against Bosnian Serb positions in 1995 helped pave the way for the Dayton peace agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia that had killed over 100,000 people. From 1996 onwards, NATO led multinational peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, which included troops from Russia. The European Union took over that mission in 2004.

The NATO-led operation in Libya in 2011 was launched under the authority of two UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), 1970 and 1973, neither of which was opposed by the USSR at the time. UNSCR 1973 authorised the international community "to take all necessary measures" to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack". This is what NATO did, with the political and military support of regional states and members of the Arab League.

NATO Allies went into Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, to ensure that the country does not again become a safe haven for international terrorists to attack the homelands of NATO member countries. From August 2003, NATO led the UN-mandated (UNSCR 1510) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which aimed to create the conditions whereby the Afghan government could exercise its authority throughout the country and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces, including in the fight against international terrorism; it was completed in December 2014 when the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces assumed full responsibility for security across their country.

In January 2015, NATO launched the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions to fight terrorism and secure their country. This is reflected in UN Security Council Resolution 2189, unanimously adopted on 12 December 2014. In April 2021, the Allies decided to start the withdrawal of RSM forces by 1 May 2021 and the mission was terminated in early September 2021.

See similar cases in our database: NATO was created for confrontation, not defence; The role of NATO is to increase the confrontation with Russia; NATO aims to destabilise Europe; NATO is provoking a conflict in the Black Sea; Russophobic Baltic NATO-States responsible for turning defensive NATO-alliance into a confrontation with Russia.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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