"The Council unanimously gave a favourable opinion to the Government's proposals for the participation of the Portuguese Armed Forces in the scope of NATO, as follows: 1. Activation of the 'Very high readiness Joint Task Force' (VJTF) and the 'Initial Follow -On Forces Group' (IFFG) for possible engagement in NATO's Graduated Response plans. 2. Possible anticipation of the second to the first semester of deployment of an Army company to Romania", reads a statement.

This statement was released about half an hour after the end of the meeting of the Superior Council for National Defence, a consultation body chaired by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, which was convened as an emergency today and which began at 11:20 am, at the Palácio de Belém, in Lisbon, and ended around 13:10, on "the situation in Ukraine and possible participation of national forces in the scope of NATO".

The favourable opinion on the Government's proposals was given "based on the position of principle expressed by the sovereign bodies, namely the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the representative of the Assembly of the Republic of the main opposition party, and taking into account the information analysed ", refers in the same note.

To prepare for this meeting, the head of state met earlier at the Palácio de Belém with the ministers of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, and with the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Admiral Silva Ribeiro.

Following Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the Prime Minister said today that Portuguese military assets assigned to NATO's rapid reaction forces in 2022 could be activated for "deterrence missions" in member countries of the alliance.