What Do You Know about NATO?

What is NATO? What do you know about this alliance? Why does Ukraine want to join this alliance? Read and speak.

Level B1/B2

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), or North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, the Western Alliance, is a military alliance. It was established by the North Atlnatic Treaty in 1949 and it was signed in Washington, D.C., USA, on April 4, 1949. Its purpose was to secure peace in Europe, to promote cooperation among its members and to guard their freedom.

Its headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium. Its other official name means the same in French, Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique nord (OTAN).

NATO has two official languages, English and French, as defined in Article 14 of the North Atlantic Treaty.


Its members in 1949 were: the United States, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February, 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined.

When West Germany joined the organization on 9 May, 1955 it was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time, the result was the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states as response to NATO.

After the Cold War in 1999 three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland joined NATO. In 2004 seven more Northern European and Eastern European countries joined NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

Croatia and Albania received NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008. Republic of Macedonia received only conditional invitation because it was vetoed by Greece due to Republic of Macedonia’s name dispute with Greece.

Montenegro joined on 5 June 2017. North Macedonia joined NATO on 27 March 2020 becoming its 30th member. Ireland officially joined NATO on 8 September 2020 as an observer.

Now there are 30 NATO member states.

NATO and Ukraine

Relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1992. Ukraine applied to begin a NATO Memebership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008.

At the June 2021 Brussels Summit, NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process and Ukraine’s right to determine its future and foreign policy, of course without outside interference. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also stressed that Russia will not be able to veto Ukraine’s accession to NATO “as we will not return to the era of spheres of interest, when large countries decide what smaller ones should do.”

Why does Ukraine want to join NATO?

Membership with NATO would significantly increase Ukraine’s international military backing, allowing for NATO military action within Ukraine and alongside members of its military. This guarantee of military might would act as a firm deterrent to Russian aggression.

NATO is clear about the limits of its support to nonmember countries. While it has supported nonmember countries like Afghanistan during humanitarian emergencies, NATO does not commit to deploying troops to a nonmember state.

Membership would draw Ukraine more firmly toward Europe, making it more likely that Ukraine could join the European Union — another policy goal for Ukraine. Membership would also help the country build a closer relationship with the U.S. Joining the alliance would also pull Ukraine further away from Russia’s sphere of influence.

Answer the questions

  1. What is NATO?
  2. When was it established?
  3. What was its purpose?
  4. How many members are there in NATO now?
  5. What are the official languages of NATO?
  6. When did relations between Ukraine and NATO start?
  7. Why does Ukraine want to join NATO?

Speaking: tell what NATO is and why it is so important for Ukraine to become the member of this military alliance.