NATO reinforces its presence while pro-Russians expand to the south of Ukraine
Military alliance NATO said it had decided on a series of immediate steps to reinforce its forces in Eastern Europe because of the Ukraine crisis amid increasing tensions. Today, pro-Russian militants in the South of the country proclaimed the creation of an independent "People's Republic of Odessa", much like Donetsk in the East did on April 7.
NATO's announcement comes at a moment when the crisis seems to be far from over and is now expanding to the south of Ukraine.
"From today, the Odessa region becomes the People's Republic of Odessa, where the power belongs to the people living in its territory," a statement on the official website of the pro-Russians reads.
The proclaim aims to prevent the entrance of ukrainian military in Odessa and to include the city in the anti-Kiev rebellion that started in the East and is now spreading to the South of the country. Pro-Russian militants encouraged the residents of Odessa to block the streets. "At 16:00 tomorrow, Odessa must get blocked! Literally," the appeal reads.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen explained in a news conference the decisions taken by NATO ambassadors to bolster security of eastern allies by reinforcing the Alliance's presence in the region: "You will see deployments at sea, in the air, on land to take place immediately, that means within days," he said. The danish politician pointed out that these decisions “are about defence, deterrence and de-escalation” of the crisis.
NATO fighter aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region, allied ships will deploy to the Baltic sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere, and allied military staff will be sent out to improve NATO's preparedness, training and exercises, Rasmussen said. “We will start to implement these measures straight away. More will follow, if needed, in the weeks and months to come,” he said, and added: "If necessary, more will follow in the next weeks and months."