NATO partners are preparing soldiers and sending extra ships and fighter planes to eastern Europe, according to the organization’s announcement on Monday.
The event comes amid weeks of escalating tensions, as a buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine’s border raises suspicions that Moscow is contemplating an invasion.
“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement Monday, applauding the allies’ increased contributions to the military alliance.
“We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment,” he continued, “including by strengthening our collective defense.”
The Kremlin rejects any intention of attacking Ukraine, arguing that NATO assistance for the nation represents a rising threat on Russia’s western border.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkvi has urged NATO to respond to Russia’s and Belarus’s “continuous” military buildup on Ukraine’s borders with “appropriate” responses.
“We are reaching the point where continuous Russian and Belarusian military buildup in Europe needs to be addressed by appropriate NATO countermeasures.” Rinkvis tweeted on Monday.
“It is time to increase allied forces presence in the Alliance’s Eastern flank both as measures of defense and deterrence,” the minister stated.
According to a senior official, US President Joe Biden addressed possibilities for increasing US force numbers in the Baltics and Eastern Europe with his top military leaders at a meeting at Camp David on Saturday.
The US State Department said on Sunday that the US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, will cut personnel levels due to a “abundance of caution,” commencing with the departure of non-essential staff and family members.
On his way into the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday, Josep Borrell, the bloc’s senior diplomat, told reporters that no decision had been taken to force European Union diplomatic workers and their families to leave Ukraine. “We are not going to do the same thing, because we don’t know any specific reasons,” said Borrell.
In reaction to Russia’s mounting threats, the UK Foreign Office stated Monday that some British Embassy workers and dependents will be removed from Kyiv.
An Élysée spokesman confirmed to CNN that representatives from the four nations engaged in the “Normandy Format” discussions – France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine – will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.