The statement by the Western alliance summed up moves made by members countries but reiterated them under NATO's banner. It appeared to be a demonstration of its resolve. This was only one of several announcements that indicated that the West is increasing its rhetoric in the information warfare that has been accompanied by the Ukraine standoff.
Russia has gathered around 100,000 troops close to Ukraine's borders. They are demanding that NATO make a promise that it will not allow Ukraine to join, and that any other actions such as the stationing of alliance troops in countries from the former Soviet bloc be stopped. These, along with any promise to permanently ban Ukraine, are not starting points for NATO. This creates a seemingly impossible deadlock that many fear will lead to war.
Russia denies that it plans an invasion and claims the Western accusations are just a cover for NATO’s planned provocations. High-stakes diplomacy has failed to achieve any breakthrough or maneuvering on either side in recent days.
NATO announced Monday that it is strengthening its "deterrence” in the Baltic Sea area. Denmark will send a frigate to Lithuania and deploy F-16 warplanes; Spain will send four fighter jets and three ships to the Black Sea for NATO's naval forces. France is also available to send troops to Romania. The Netherlands plans to send two F-35 fighter planes to Bulgaria starting in April.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO would "take all necessary steps to protect and defend allies." "We will always respond if there is a deterioration in our security environment, and we will do so by strengthening our collective defense."
According to two sources, Pentagon leaders in Washington have suggested a variety of options to President Joe Biden to strengthen the U.S. military presence on Eastern Europe and the Baltics, as a sign of American commitment.
One official said that no specific deployments were being considered, but that some unspecified U.S. military units had been instructed to begin planning for this possibility. Another official stated Sunday that it was possible for reinforcements to be sent from U.S. military bases. This could also include possible shifts of troops within Europe. However, the Pentagon and White House are still "exploring" options.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, claimed that NATO and the U.S. were responsible for the rising tensions in Europe.
All this is not due to what Russia is doing. Peskov stated that this is because NATO and the U.S. are doing it. Peskov also mentioned U.S media reports that Russia was evacuating its diplomats in Ukraine, which Moscow strongly denied.
As European Union foreign ministers tried to show unity in support for Ukraine, the NATO announcement was made. This helped to ease concerns about divisions regarding how to face any Russian aggression.
Ministers stated that the EU had intensified sanctions preparations, and warned that any further Russian military aggression against Ukraine would have severe consequences and costly costs.
Separately, the EU committed to increasing financial support for Ukraine's embattled, vowing that it would push through a special package consisting of 1.2 billion euros ($1.42 billion) in loans, grants, and loans as soon as possible.
On Friday, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken met with Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister. He said that the U.S. would send Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals this week. This gives some hope that an invasion might be delayed at least for a few days.
Watching closely the Russian troop movements in Belarus and the war games in Belarus, the West is awaiting any indications of a possible new invasion of Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, annexed the Crimean Peninsula and invaded Ukraine again. Moscow also supports pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists fighting against the Kyiv government, which is located in the eastern region of Ukraine known as the Donbass. The conflict has claimed the lives of approximately 14,000 people.
Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, was asked if the EU would follow the U.S. lead and ask the families of European diplomats in Ukraine to leave.
Britain also announced that it will withdraw some dependents and diplomats from its Kyiv embassy.
Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, stated that an invasion was not likely but that intelligence was "pretty gloomy." However, he added that "I believe that sense can still prevail."
Oleg Nikolenko (Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesperson) said that the U.S. decision was a "premature step" and a sign "excessive care." Russia wants to inflict panic on Ukrainians and other foreigners in order destabilize Ukraine.
Germany has not issued an order. However, it stated that the family members of embassy staff could leave if they so desire. Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister, stressed that we cannot contribute to the unsettling of the situation. We must continue to support the Ukrainian government with clarity and most importantly maintain the country's stability.
Simon Coveney, the Irish Foreign Minister, stated that he would inform his counterparts about Russia's plans to hold war games 240 km (150 miles) offshore of Ireland's southwest coast. This will be in international waters but within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone.
Coveney stated that "This is not a time for increasing military activity and tension given the current events in Ukraine." "The fact they choose to do it at the western borders of the EU, just off the Irish coast is something we find unacceptable."
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, NATO members closest to Russia, announced they would send U.S. anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles (a move that was endorsed by the United States).
However, questions remain about how united the EU really is. The 27-member bloc has been divided by diverse energy, political and business interests in its approach to Moscow for a long time. Around 40% of EU's natural gas imports are from Russia. Much of this is via pipelines through Ukraine. Many are wary of being cut off from that supply in winter because prices have soared.
Two of the EU's major powers are most cautious. French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his previous rejection of calls for an EU summit.
After being criticised for saying that Ukraine wouldn't regain the Crimean Peninsula and suggesting that Putin deserved "respect," Vice Adm. Kay Achim Schoenbach, head of the German Navy, resigned late Saturday.
Diplomats and officials confirmed that tough-hitting sanctions were being developed with the EU's executive branch. Although they were hesitant to discuss the details or what Russia could do to trigger them, they said that they would be in place within days of any attack.