Several European nations are breaking with tradition and mobilising against the Russian invasion, pledging military and humanitarian support for Kiev.
Historically neutral countries - and those not aligned to any military alliances - including Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Ireland and Austria have broken that neutrality with fierce statements and unexpected military support over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden and Finland's participation in the NATO meeting for joint action against Russian aggression fueled allegations about whether these two countries might join the military alliance while facing immediate warnings of “serious military-political consequences” from Moscow.
Russian security threat
There is a general fear that Russia’s Ukraine invasion is “bringing war back to Europe,” posing a threat in terms of its security architecture.
“I don't think anyone could have predicted that Russia could go this far. Therefore, these countries gave up their neutrality as they became hesitant about the reliability of Russia,'' Faik Tanrikulu, Associate Professor at Medipol University, told TRT World.
While Russian convoy is inching to Ukraine’s capital Kiev, it signals to the pro-Ukraine alliance that Russia will pose a sharp threat as its dominance will increase, especially in Eastern Europe.
Moscow's active military power reaching NATO members’ borders increases the size of the threat.
''And these countries naturally take a stand. They want to create their security framework by putting themselves in the NATO mould to avoid experiencing the same Ukraine fate in its NATO membership process,'' Tanrikulu added.
Lack of decisiveness
Another reason some countries have chosen this path was because of the inability of the Western alliance to intervene early on in the crisis.
In his first press conference after the initial Russian attack on February 24, US President Biden stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been planning this for months.
''As I’ve been — as we’ve been saying all along. He moved more than 175,000 troops, military equipment into positions along the Ukrainian border,'' Biden said.
Tanrikulu says the US and the alliance did not take any drastic steps before Ukraine was set ‘on fire’.
''They did not show the same initiative they showed in other regions such as Libya and Egypt,'' he said.
Unprecedented US and public pressure on several governments to impose sanctions against Russia has also played its part in convincing these nations to abandon previous notions of neutrality.
Although the Pro-Ukraine alliance has been mobilised to isolate Russia politically and economically from the international system, it is unlikely that countries like Sweden and Finland will officially join NATO anytime soon.
''I don't think it's very likely to surround and punish Russia on all fronts. The entry of these countries into NATO would be to give the green light for World War III,'' Tanrikulu said.
The following is a list of what actions formerly neutral countries have taken after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A country that maintained neutrality through two World Wars has decided to impose comprehensive EU sanctions on Russia.
This will potentially freeze assets worth billions and further increase the strain on the Russian economy. According to data from the Swiss National Bank, Russian companies and individuals held more than $11 billion in assets in Swiss banks in 2020 - but the real number is likely much higher as that number is made up of only registered assets.
Moreover, the Federal Council also announced that it had banned entry to five oligarchs linked with Putin.
Urgent support for the Ukrainian population 👉 #Switzerland 🇨🇭 is sending around 25 tonnes of relief supplies to Warsaw in the next two days, including medical equipment provided by @vbs_ddps. A @SwissHumAidUnit team is flying out tonight to prepare aid efforts on the ground 🙏 pic.twitter.com/gDmBADCYoc— Ignazio Cassis (@ignaziocassis) February 28, 2022
Flights from Russia are banned. But this will not include flights for humanitarian, medical, or diplomatic intentions.
The decision on February 28 came two days after over 20,000 protested in the country, showing solidarity with Ukraine.
On February 27, The Finnish government announced sending at least 2,000 bulletproof vests, 2,000 composite helmets, 100 stretchers along with equipment for two emergency medical care stations to Ukraine.
FM @Haavisto called FM @DmytroKuleba today and informed him about the additional material assistance that Finland and EU will send to Ukraine.— MFA Finland 🇫🇮 (@Ulkoministerio) February 28, 2022
Full support to Ukraine 🇺🇦 on these difficult times. #StandWithUkraine
The military aid package is also expected to contain 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 cartridges for rifles and 1,500 single-shot anti-tank weapons - and 70,000 combat ration packages.
The country already decided on February 24 to offer Ukraine a total of $15.6 million in new financial support.
The country also banned the sale of Russian alcohol.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde declared sending direct support for Ukraine's military force three days after Russia's attack.
The military supply includes 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 5,000 anti-tank weapons.
Additionally, the county pledged over $52 million in humanitarian effort to Ukraine.
Sweden announces another 500 million SEK (47 million euro) in humanitarian support to #Ukraine. This is on top of the 120 million SEK last week. In total, Sweden has contributed over 1 billion SEK in humanitarian aid and 2,3 billion SEK in reform support to 🇺🇦 Ukraine since 2014.— Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) March 1, 2022
Previously, the country announced $5.4 million aid for the Partnership Fund for Resilient Ukraine, launched with the joint efforts of the UK,US, Canada and Switzerland.
The country also decided to boost humanitarian assistance by donating an additional $2 million to support the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ukraine.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer has confirmed the delivery of at least 10,000 helmets, protective materials for civilian forces, and fuel supplies for Ukraine.
The aid package contains 100,000 litres of fuel. This adds to the previous $2.7 million for the Red Cross and the other humanitarian agencies and convoys with the assistance that Austria has sent to Ukraine.
Shocked to learn Russian aggression against Ukraine has not only caused severe casualties, but also led to the destruction of the Slovenian Consulate in Kharkiv. Diplomatic missions are inviolable and to be protected at all times. Perpetrators will be held accountable.@AnzeLog https://t.co/DGjN6bNxsB— MFA Austria (@MFA_Austria) March 1, 2022
In addition, a second asset package will contain a further $16 million for Austria’s Foreign Minister’s Foreign Disaster Fund.
Irish Prime Minister Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said that his government will furnish over $11 million in humanitarian support for Ukraine.
(1) Have just spoken to Prime Minister of #Ukraine Denys Shmyhal.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) March 1, 2022
He thanked Ireland for our solidarity, political, economic and humanitarian support in the face of Russian aggression... pic.twitter.com/tzDDEQyB2h
The country supports the European Union's sanctions and plans on additional sanctions.