BRUSSELS — The head of NATO pledged on Wednesday to immediately step up military patrols along the alliance’s vast eastern border in response to mounting evidence of Russian interference in Ukraine.
The announcement by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, appeared to be another sign that the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine was becoming more acute. But Mr. Rasmussen emphasized that the move was designed to be a deterrent rather than preparation for conflict.
“Our decisions today are about defense, deterrence and de-escalation,” Mr. Rasmussen said in a statement posted on the NATO website. “NATO will protect every ally and defend against any threat against our fundamental security,” he said.
Even so, the moves represent a significant strengthening of NATO’s posture in a region where it is already operating an air-policing mission in the Baltic states and surveillance flights over Poland and Romania.