With Russia's increasingly aggressive stance regarding Ukraine's independence, including a plan to install a puppet government there, NATO members are planning deterrence moves in the region, and coordinating with non-NATO friendly nations on a strategy to counter Russia. The Associated Press reports that several NATO allies are repositioning assets in support of Ukraine:
"On Monday, NATO said that it is beefing up its 'deterrence' in the Baltic Sea area. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 war planes to Lithuania; Spain is sending four fighter jets to Bulgaria and three ships to the Black Sea to join NATO naval forces; and France stands ready to send troops to Romania. The Netherlands also plans to send two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April."
A long-planned naval exercise will see a carrier strike group led by the U.S.S. Harry S Truman join a NATO exercise in the Mediterranean until February 4. NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg is meeting today with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Sweden and Finland whose nations have raised strong concerns with Russia about their intentions toward Ukraine, and have expressed their freedom to chose with whom to ally themselves. Closer ties, or the addition of Sweden and Finland to the NATO alliance, would be a significant plus, and send a serious message to Russia that their aggression will only cause more nations to seek alliances with the West.
Russia's counting on members of the European Union to split along economic lines, given its role as an energy supplier. Roughly 40% of the European Union's natural gas is imported from Russia, with Germany being particularly vulnerable to energy blackmail by Russia. Germany has so far declined to provide weapons support to Ukraine, offering essentially economic and diplomatic support instead.