NATO has said its members are alerting troops and sending additional ships and fighter jets to allied countries in Eastern Europe in response to growing fears of a potential Russian attack on Ukraine.
Russia has deployed more than 106,000 troops near its border with Ukraine in recent months, raising fears of a new invasion. Moscow has denied plans to attack.
“I welcome the Allies who are providing additional forces for NATO,” said Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary general. “NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies, including by strengthening the eastern part of the alliance.
“We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment, including by strengthening our collective defense,” he added.
NATO’s statement came Monday when several Western nations said they had taken steps to evacuate the families of Kiev-based diplomats outside the country.
Britain on Monday ordered a number of embassy staff and family members to leave Ukraine. The move came after the United States on Sunday ordered family members of its embassy staff to leave Kiev because of the risk of “significant military action” by Russia. The United States and the United Kingdom have said their embassies will remain open.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but Western officials have warned that any conflict could affect its western neighbors.
NATO said examples of strengthening the alliance include Denmark’s already announced move to send a frigate to the Baltic Sea and France’s readiness to send troops to Romania.
Spain sent the frigate Blas de Lezo from Ferrol to its Atlantic coast to the Black Sea a few weeks ahead, for which Stoltenberg thanked Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez over the weekend.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albarez told the FT that such deployments “show Spain’s commitment to Europe’s security, whether on the eastern or southern flank”.