"We are constantly assessing the developments in the Black Sea, including the implications for NATO…That's exactly what were are doing when we are increasing our forward presence and also increasing our ability to reinforce and our efforts when it comes to surveillance and intelligence and reconnaissance in that region," Stoltenberg told reporters when arriving for the alliance's defense minister meeting in Brussels.
During a pre-ministerial press conference on Tuesday, Stoltenberg urged the alliance's ministers to increase NATO's presence in Eastern Europe in order to deter aggression. The ministers were reportedly set to discuss US President Barack Obama's early February announcement of his decision to quadruple US military spending in Europe to reassure NATO's European allies, allegedly threatened by Russia.
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the increased NATO military presence near Russia's borders threatens European stability and security.
The US-led military alliance has been stepping up its military presence in Europe since 2014. It has justified plowing troops and hardware into Eastern European countries by pointing to Russia’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis.