NATO allies send more ships, jets to enhance deterrence & defence in eastern Europe
By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
In a strong sign of allied solidarity, NATO members are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine.
In a statement made by the Regional Force said that allies are sending more ships and jets in order to deter the incursion of Russia to Ukraine.
This is coming as the United States on Monday put 8,500 troops on alert over the growing tension in Ukraine and President Joe Biden called European allies in an effort to maintain Western unity against Russian pressure.
The European Union, meanwhile, urged allies to avoid a “nervous breakdown” in the face of fears that Russia could stage a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Despite insisting he has no intention of attacking, controversial President Vladimir Putin has deployed some 100,000 troops close to Ukraine, where Russia already seized Crimea in 2014 and backs a separatist army in the east.
However the statement by NATO confirming the deployment of ships and jets by allies read in part, “Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four 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.
“France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command.
“The Netherlands is sending two fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities in the region, and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force.
“The United States has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
“NATO is a defensive Alliance. In response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO increased its presence in the eastern part of the alliance, including with four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
“Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. There were no NATO forces in the eastern part of the Alliance before 2014.”