On Monday tensions soared between Russia and the West over concerns that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine, with NATO outlining potential troop and ship deployments, Britain saying it would withdraw some diplomats from Kyiv, and Ireland denouncing upcoming Russian war games off its coast as unwelcome.
The Western alliance’s statement summed up moves already announced by member countries, but restating them under the NATO banner appeared aimed at showing its resolve. It was just one of a series of announcements that signaled the West is ramping up its rhetoric in the information war that has accompanied the Ukraine standoff, reports AP News. They also reported that Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border, demanding that NATO promise to never allow Ukraine to join the alliance and that other actions, like stationing alliance troops in former Soviet countries be curtailed. A lot of these are nonstarters for NATO, especially permanently barring Ukraine.
NATO said on Monday that it is bolstering its “deterrence” in the Baltic Sea region. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 warplanes to Lithuania; Spain is sending for fighter jets Bulgaria and three ships to the Black Sea to join NATO naval forces; France stands ready to send troops to Romania. The Netherlands also plans to send two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April, according to AP News.
NATO will “take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense.”