Kosovo is asking the U.S. to establish a permanent military base in the country as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine accelerates.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Kosovo Defense Minister Armend Mehaj said establishing the permanent base and accelerating Kosovo’s membership to NATO are “immediate need[s] to guarantee peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans,” Reuters reported

Kosovo’s independence is recognized by more than 110 countries, but not by Russia and four NATO members. The nation is also not a member of the United Nations.

The U.S. currently contributes 635 troops to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping mission in the country that began in 1999.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to security concerns in the region, with the Pentagon deploying roughly 15,000 troops to Eastern Europe mainly to bolster NATO’s defense capabilities.

Earlier this month, as Russia amassed forces along Ukraine’s border, Lithuania indicated that it would also ask the U.S. to permanently station troops in the country. 

Kosovo has introduced sanctions against Russia, and Mehaj said the nation was ready to offer military help if asked to provide aid, Reuters reported.

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