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BRUSSELS: NATO announced that it will take additional steps to strengthen the alliance's deterrence and defence after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine and hold an emergency summit of its 30 member nations on Friday.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, confirming the worst fears of the West with the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

"Peace on our continent has been shattered," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. "Russia is using force to try to rewrite history, and deny Ukraine its free and independent path."

More than 40 Ukraine soldiers, nearly 10 civilians killed

The new measures planned by NATO "will enable us to deploy capabilities and forces, including the NATO Response Force," he said.

NATO said earlier in a statement, after a meeting of the alliance's ambassadors in Brussels, that it had decided "to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defence across the alliance. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory."

NATO is planning to create battle group structures like it already has in Baltic states for the countries on its eastern flank, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok said on Thursday, adding the move would include Slovakia.

Stoltenberg said leaders would hold a virtual emergency summit of NATO leaders on Friday.

Oil rises above $105 after Russia attacks Ukraine

"This is a deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion," he said. "Russia's unjustified unprovoked attack on Ukraine is putting countless innocent lives at risk with air and missile attacks."

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