Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are increasing military activities in Eastern Europe amid tensions regarding Ukraine, despite Russia's warning that strengthened NATO presence near its borders are a "national security threat", China Daily reports.
In the past days, Denmark, Spain, France, and the Netherlands are sending or planning to send ships, planes or troops to NATO's deployments in Eastern Europe. Already present on the ground are Britain, Canada and Germany, NATO said Monday in a statement.
Also on Monday, the US Department of Defense announced that some 8,500 US troops have been put on heightened alert for a possible deployment due to escalating tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, but there is no decision on formal deployments.
Responding to NATO's move, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the Russian military cannot ignore NATO's increase in military activities as tensions regarding Ukraine have flared up.
In addition to the NATO maneuvers, Ukrainian authorities are massing forces on the line of contact with the two self-proclaimed republics in Donbass, he noted.
The threat of provocations by Kiev in the Donbass region in east Ukraine is now higher than ever, the spokesman stressed.
The current escalation of tensions was caused by the United States and its NATO allies, who have launched a propaganda campaign full of lies against Russia, Peskov said.
NATO, the United States and Ukraine have accused Russia of having assembled heavy troops near the eastern border of Ukraine with a possible intention of "invasion".
Denying any intention to attack any country, Russia has warned NATO that its activities near Russia's borders "are a national security threat" while Moscow reserves the right to move forces on its territory.