NATO announced on Monday that it would send fighter jets and ships to Eastern Europe as tension with the alliance and Russia reached fever pitch over the possibility of a Russian invasion of Europe. Ukraine.
Denmark will lead a frigate to the Baltic Sea and send four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania. Spain is also sending ships to join NATO naval forces in the region and plans to send fighter jets to Bulgaria, the statement said. France said it was willing to send troops to Romania, and the Netherlands also said it would send two F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria in April.
The moves come as tension in the region increases day by day.
The British Embassy in Ukraine has said it will withdraw some staff from Kiev in response to the growing threat from Russia – just a day after US officials told Fox News the State Department had ordered families of US Embassy personnel in the city to begin evacuating.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the State Department’s decision “premature” and an example of “excessive caution”.
Melinda Simmons, the British ambassador to Ukraine, posted on Twitter that her embassy remains open and “we will continue to work alongside [Ukrainian flag] the partners.”
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The NATO message came shortly after a Moscow lawmaker warned the United States against positioning troops in Eastern Europe.
“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by strengthening the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment, including by strengthening our collective defence,” said NATO Secretary General Jens. Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Russian lawmaker Andrei Kartapolov told Interfax that the Kremlin would “respond appropriately” if the United States deployed troops to the region, according to Reuters.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday dodged the question of whether there was “a scenario” in which American troops would be deployed to defend Ukraine, saying that American and European allies were considering “practical and important” responses to Russian aggression in the region.
The European Union aims to show a united front in the face of what it sees as Russian aggression.
“All members of the European Union are united. We are showing unprecedented unity on the situation in Ukraine, with strong coordination with the United States,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. , to journalists in Brussels.
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Russia has insisted it has no intention of invading its neighbor, but its recent actions may suggest otherwise. Russian troops have been deployed on the eastern border with Ukraine and tensions did not ease after talks on Friday between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva.
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Russia wants concrete assurances that NATO will not continue to expand, as Moscow views such expansion as a security risk. NATO said the demands were unacceptable and that joining the alliance was a right for any country and did not threaten Russia.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said Russia was preparing to hold war games off the coast of Ireland in international waters but also in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“We don’t have the power to prevent this from happening, but I certainly made it clear to the Russian ambassador to Ireland that this was not welcome,” Coveney said, as he arrived for talks focusing on Russia and Ukraine with his European counterparts in Brussels on Monday.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar, Lucas Y. Tomlinson and Associated Press contributed to this report