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por Isabel Paulos, em 24.01.22

Nato reinforces eastern borders as Ukraine tensions mount, no The Guardian.

[...]Nato is reinforcing its eastern borders with forces on land, sea and air, the military alliance’s secretary general has said, as a Russian invasion of Ukraine appeared increasingly likely.

[...]The US administration was also ready to increase its military presence in eastern Europe, Nato’s chief, a former prime minister of Norway, warned in a statement that appeared designed to further raise the stakes for the Kremlin.“I welcome allies contributing additional forces to Nato,” Stoltenberg said. “Nato will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence.”

[...]The development came as the White House and Downing Street said they had started withdrawing diplomats’ families from Ukraine, and EU foreign ministers gathered to discuss the escalating crisis with US secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

[...]The new Nato military capability announced for the east includes Denmark’s deployment of a frigate to the Baltic Sea and four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania.

Spain has said it is sending ships to join Nato naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. Emmanuel Macron has expressed his government’s readiness to send French troops to Romania under Nato command.

Nato increased its presence within the territory of its eastern member states in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. There are currently four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, led by the UK, Canada, Germany and the US.

At their meeting in Brussels, EU ministers are expected to reiterate their warning of a severe economic price to be paid by Russia should it invade Ukraine, after a wobble in Berlin.

Germany’s navy chief, Kay-Achim Schönbach, resigned his position after it emerged that he has said that Vladimir Putin deserved respect.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s foreign minister, said the new German government was in a “difficult situation” having started just “a month ago”.

But he warned that the EU and the US needed to show a unified front. “We are convinced that real war is a likely possibility,” he said. “The sanctions have to be unbearable.”

Arriving in Brussels, Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said he would inform his counterparts that Russia planned to hold war games 240km (150 miles) off Ireland’s coast, within international waters and the country’s exclusive economic zone.

He said: “We don’t have a power to prevent this happening but certainly I’ve made it clear to the Russian ambassador in Ireland that it’s not welcome.

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