Brussels, Jan 24 (EFE).- Nato members are deploying additional warships and fighter jets to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, where forces have been put on standby amid fears that a build-up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine could culminate in an invasion, the Atlantic alliance said Monday.
Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and plans to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania, Spain is dispatching ships to join Nato naval patrols and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria, while France said it was ready to send additional troops to Bulgaria, the Nato statement said.
The United States has said it was mulling boosting its military presence along Nato’s eastern flank, the statement added.
“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.
“We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence.”
The update on Nato movements in the region came as both the US and the United Kingdom announced the withdrawal of diplomats’ families from embassies in Ukraine, citing the threat of Russian military action against Ukraine.
The European Union opted to not to follow suit, saying it saw no reason to withdraw non-essential personnel or family members of embassy staff.
Ukraine’s foreign minister Oleg Nikolenko said that although he respected the decision taken by the US Department of State, the withdrawal of some diplomats and family members seemed “premature” and an “instance of excessive caution.”
The United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson warned Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would be a “painful, violent and bloody business,” although he added that such an outcome could still be avoided.
The Kremlin on Monday said Nato was fueling tensions in the region by deploying additional units to its eastern flank and that the US’ decision to withdraw embassy staff’s family members from Ukraine was part of the “hysteria” coming from the West.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the statements coming from western allies about the rising tension around Ukraine contained “an enormous amount of false information” and lies.
Russia denies that it is planning an attack on Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman added that Ukrainian forces were building up along the borders of the Donbas, an area of eastern Ukraine covering the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk that has been in the hands of pro-Russian insurgents since a 2014 uprising.
“This type of build-up suggests preparations of offensive actions, this threat exists today,” he said.