NATO said on Monday it was putting extra forces on standby and sending more ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe as Ireland warned that new naval exercises off its coast were not welcome.

In this climate, NATO declared that it is strengthening itsdeterrentpresence in the Baltic Sea region, while the Russian Navy announced the start of naval exercises in the same area.

So Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 fighter aircraft to Lithuania.

Spain sends four Eurofighter aircraft to Bulgaria and three ships to the Black Sea to join the NATO naval forces. and France is ready to send troops to Romania. The Netherlands also plans to send two F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria but much later than April.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, a US Navy carrier battle group is placed under NATO command.

NATOwill take all necessary measures to protect and defend all its allies,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment by strengthening our collective defence. ”

At the same time, the Russian Navy announced that it is sending 20 ships of its Baltic Fleet to the Baltic Sea to conduct exercises, the Russian news agency RIA reported, amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine and reports that the United States may send additional troops to the region.

The ships will conduct exercises that will focus on naval and anti-aircraft defence, RIA reported, citing the Baltic Fleet. Russia has stated that it willrespond appropriatelyif Washington increases the number of troops in Eastern Europe, after the New York Times reported in an article that the White House is considering such a move.

We have reached a point where the continued build-up of Russian and Belarusian military forces in Europe must be countered with appropriate NATO countermeasures. It is high time to increase the presence of allied forces on the eastern side of the Alliance both as defensive and deterrent measures,” said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.