North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) leaders said they are deploying more troops to eastern Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, BBC reported.
“No one should be fooled by the Russian government’s barrage of lies,” the 30 leaders said in a joint statement, the report said.
“President Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine is a terrible strategic mistake, for which Russia will pay a severe price, both economically and politically, for years to come,” the statement says, as per BBC report.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has “shattered peace in Europe”. NATO has deployed elements of its rapid response force on land, sea and in the air towards eastern Europe.
He said that the security bloc has “already strengthened our defence” and that the US, Canada and European countries have already deployed thousands of troops in the region, BBC reported.
More than 100 fighter jets are now operating in 30 defence locations in Europe, accompanied by more than 120 ships and three strike carrier groups, Stoltenberg added.
He emphasises that the forces will defend “every inch of NATO territory” and adds that it will continue to offer support to Ukraine, as well as other nations in the region threatened by Russia, including Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia, as per BBC report.
NATO has already made it clear that it won’t send troops to Ukraine, which is not a member of the alliance.
He called on Russia to immediately cease its assault, withdraw its forces from Ukraine and to re-enter a peaceful dialogue, BBC reported.
The NATO Secretary-General said the invasion has caused enormous suffering and argues that Western leaders must “stand ready to do more, even if it means we have to pay a price, because we are in this for the long haul”.
Stoltenberg says that the “Kremlin’s objectives are not limited to Ukraine” and says that Russia has demanded legally binding agreements to halt further NATO expansion, according to BBC report.