A Spanish warship and around 200 sailors set sail for the Black Sea on Saturday to bolster NATO’s presence in the region as tensions run high around the Ukraine border.
The ship was originally set to join the NATO mission in around three weeks, but its departure was accelerated as the crisis between Russia, Ukraine and its allies intensified.
The Spanish frigate will join the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), which already includes Turkish and Italian warships, according to the NATO website.
The group’s role is to provide NATO with immediate operational response capability.
On Friday, Naval Commander Gonzalo Leira Neia told media that the warship is combat-ready and able to rapidly respond to any crisis that may emerge.
It is prepared to stay in the region for more than two months.
Both the Spanish warship and the SNMG2 had previously directed efforts toward combatting piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
This is not Spain’s only recent mobilization to the region.
On Monday, the Spanish patrol vessel Meteoro also set sail for the Black Sea.