NATO announced on Monday that its allies are putting their forces on “alert status” and sending additional warships and warplanes to eastern Europe to reinforce the eastern flank. The announcement comes in a perhaps decisive week given the escalation of tension between the West and Moscow due to the accumulation of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, and while the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, discusses the matter virtually with the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, also meeting this Monday in Brussels.
“I welcome the fact that the allies are contributing additional forces to NATO,” said the secretary general of the Atlantic Alliance in a statement. “NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including strengthening the Eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment, including by strengthening our collective defense.”
While diplomatic efforts continue to avoid a warlike disaster at the gates of the EU, several NATO members have announced “current or future” deployments in recent days, according to the statement issued by the Alliance. Among them is Spain, which “is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending combat aircraft to Bulgaria,” the note states.
the frigate Blas de Lezo and the maritime action vessel Meteor They set sail last week for the Black Sea. In addition, Spain plans to send four Eurofighter fighters to Bulgaria in February. Despite the fact that the deployment was foreseen in the agreement of the Council of Ministers on December 21, which approved the contribution of the Spanish Armed Forces to NATO, UN and European Union missions during 2022, the Ukraine crisis has made it more important.
The Spanish contribution is joined by Denmark, which plans to send a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is going to deploy four F-16 fighters in Lithuania, in support of the air policing mission that NATO carries out on a daily basis in that area, according to the statement released on Monday. “France”, the note continues, “has expressed its willingness to send troops to Romania under the command of NATO”. And the Netherlands has also posted two F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria, as well as contributing a ship and ground units to the NATO Response Force.
“The United States has also made it clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance,” adds the released text.
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