A Portuguese officer
A Portuguese officer iStock

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Friday said at a televised news conference that his country would send soldiers to assist Ukraine in its defense against Russia, CNN reported.

According to Costa, Russia's war on Ukraine "is a war against the freedom of self-determination of a democratic country and therefore it is also a war against the freedom of self-determination and against democracy."

He added that there is "an unanimity of all states, in view of the need to strengthen the NATO presence on the borders of Ukraine and in all the alliance countries that are close to the Ukraine region."

"Portugal, in this sense, in addition to the forces that this year has assigned to the European command of NATO, decided to anticipate, from the second half to the first half, the mobilization and commitment of an infantry company that will act in Romania and that will be projected in the coming weeks.

"Several other countries at the moment are either anticipating or reinforcing or deciding to reinforce their participation with these countries [bordering Ukraine] in order to have a clear manifestation of unity and deterrence regarding Russia's actions."

Costa said the infantry company would include 170 troopers, CNN added.

On Thursday, the National Post quoted Costa as saying - also during a televised address - that, "The answer to this crisis should be a diplomatic solution," and that, "NATO will not intervene or act in Ukraine."

He added, "Ukrainian citizens who have family, friends and acquaintances here are welcome in Portugal."