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Was NATO military aid part of Russia's calculation for the invasion of Ukraine?

If YES, did they put out any statement that proves that?

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    He mad many threats about what would happen if aid was given which leads me to believe that he expected it to happen.
    – Joe W
    Jun 10 at 20:35
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    It is difficult to answer about "the internal motivations of a person" (which is a VtC reason), but at the time everybody (Russia and Western countries alike) seemed to take for granted that Ukraine would be overrun in a few days and that military aid, short of directly sending combat troops, would be too late. It was only after it was realized that Ukraine was resisting that military aid started.
    – SJuan76
    Jun 10 at 20:36
  • It's not made public afaik but nevertheless I would bet a lot on that Russia at least partly took it into consideration and must have entertained the thought, it's so obvious.
    – Trilarion
    Jun 10 at 22:23
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    @SJuan76 that is factually incorrect. NATO has been in the business of assisting Ukraine defend itself since the aftermath of the Crimea invasion. That aid was nowhere at the current level, no, but by no means absent. Jun 10 at 22:47
  • I'm not DV-ing because you have enough of those. But even after edits, this question is rather unclear. By "calculation" you mean whether they thought that Western arms could be a problem for their invasion plans? Or do you mean if they invoked the presence of Western arms as a reason to attack? (I dare say, the original question was more clear, but now I'm unsure if you meant to ask that or something else.)
    – Fizz
    Jun 14 at 2:35

1 Answer 1

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Not necessarily.

There was no NATO aid to Ukraine prior to Russia's 2014 invasion. Probably not all that much to Georgia pre-2008.

On the other hand, if you are talking about Russia's latest "special military operation", they may have calculated that the balance of military power was likely to be more optimal for aggression now, rather than after some more years of NATO training of the Ukrainian armed forces, along with lower-level arms deliveries, which have been ongoing since 2014. *

I do want to add that those weapons, until February 2022, were lower in number and more defense-only weapons like Javelins. Artillery for example has only been sent after Russia invaded. But make no mistake, a lot of training and effort went into making sure Russia could not bully its neighbor as easily as before. This was not a "Wagner-keep-out" level of aid:

(The Economist, Jan 21, 2022) Could Ukraine’s anti-tank missiles hamper a Russian invasion?

According to Mr Wallace’s deputy, Britain had dispatched “thousands” of these. America started sending Ukraine its own Javelin ATGMs in 2018 and in December approved an additional $200m package of arms, including more Javelins. This month it also gave permission for Estonia to send more. How do anti-tank missiles work—and can they stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Back to the Q:

If YES, did they put out any statement that proves that?

Now, of course, if you are talking about Russia's public announcements, then of course it is NATO's fault. From Foreign Minister Lavrov, in 2018:

"[We are witnessing] an arms build-up on our borders along with the drive to upgrade the transport infrastructure in Europe so that it can be easier for US heavy armaments and, perhaps, the armaments of other NATO countries to choose our borders; [in addition to] blatantly provocative drills - not ours with China in Siberia - but military exercises in Ukraine, Georgia and in the Black Sea," Russia’s top diplomat emphasized.

The same Lavrov who says all sorts of things, so take that with a good truckload of salt. So, what if anything does that "prove"?

Bottom line: there is no way to really know what motivated this attack, but we know Russia has aggressed its "near abroad" in the past without needing this particular bit of motivation.

* the choice of that particular Politico article was because it is the first hit when Googling us ukraine military aid budget with a June 1 2021 upper time limit.

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