NATO is putting its armed forces on alert and sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe in connection with the build-up of Russian military forces near Ukraine.
"NATO Allies are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defence as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine," a statement published on the NATO website reads.
The communiqué says that in the past days, a number of Allies have made announcements regarding current or upcoming deployments. Thus, according to the statement, Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO's long-standing air-policing mission in the region. Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria.
In addition, France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command.
The United States has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
NATO is also expecting that the Netherlands will send two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO's air-policing activities in the region, and will put a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force.
"There were no NATO forces in the eastern part of the Alliance before 2014," NATO says.