NATO sends ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe over Russia threat
NATO said Monday it's sending more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe due to Russia's buildup of troops near Ukraine.
Driving the news: "NATO Allies are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defense as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine," per a NATO statement.
Details ... NATO outlined the following announcements by member states over the last several days:
- Denmark is "sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 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."
- The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force.
- The U.S. has "made clear" that it is "considering increasing its military presence" in eastern Europe.
The big picture: Russia has been deploying forces on all sides of Ukraine's border — including in Belarus — and sending further military aid to Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
- NATO's announcement came hours after the U.S. State Department said it would begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the American Embassy in Kyiv "due to the continued threat of Russian military action."
- The U.K. government began withdrawing some staff and dependents from the British Embassy on Monday.
What they're saying: "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.
- "We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence," Stoltenberg added.
Go deeper... In photos: Behind the frontlines in Ukraine