US warns 8,500 troops over possible deployment in Europe amid Ukraine crisis


Thousands of American soldiers were put on hold to deploy to Eastern Europe as fears of a Russian ground invasion of neighboring Ukraine hovered over the European continent.

President Joe Biden’s decision to alert military units on Monday represents a sharp shift in the focus of the crisis as tensions worsen on the border with Ukraine. For weeks, the Biden Administration has refrained from mobilizing military forces while trying to resolve the situation with Moscow diplomatically. But the lack of progress – and the continued build-up of Russian forces – has led Biden to re-evaluate US options, administration officials say.

Amid intelligence warnings that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent, the president is considering moving thousands of troops, naval vessels and warplanes to the Baltic states and Eastern Europe. In a separate announcement, NATO said Monday it was relocating additional fighter jets and fighter jets to Eastern Europe to defend its eastern flank.
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said as many as 8,500 members of the U.S. service had been put on high alert for deployment to bolster NATO allies’ eastern defenses in the event of a Russian invasion. The forces will not be sent to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, or take part in any combat role, Kirby said, but will serve as reinforcements in places like Poland or Romania to reassure northern allies. Americans and deter Russian aggression. If activated, the troops would be part of the NATO Response Force based in Eastern Europe, the rapid reaction force with air, naval and intelligence components. in case of emergency.

“No decision has been made to deploy,” Kirby said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see another war on the European continent, and there’s no reason for that to happen.”

So far, the Biden administration has stopped before threatening US military action if Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed his forces into Ukraine, but promised radical economic sanctions and continued military support. Ukrainian women.

U.S. units identified for possible deployment are involved in logistics, medicine, aviation, transportation and intelligence, Kirby said. “Some of these forces were already in a better position to deploy the stance,” Kirby said. “So in some cases, the units would go beyond 10 days ready to deploy and now it’s five days away.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley briefed Biden at Camp David by teleconference on Saturday about military options for Ukraine. Currently only about 200 U.S. soldiers are in the country, as members of the Florida National Guard are training Ukrainian forces. The United States has about 70,000 troops in Europe, but only about 6,000 are in Eastern Europe. They are located mainly in Poland, where the forces are rotating, including an armored brigade combat equipment. According to an administration official, Austin and Milley provided the president with options to move forces eastward into Europe and prepare to send more U.S. troops if needed.

The White House and European allies have been fighting for months to respond since Russia began deploying more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine. Analysts say the deployment could be the largest accumulation of Russian troops on the continent since the Cold War, which Putin has tried to use as a lever against the U.S. to reduce troops, weapons and influence on its borders.

Read more: The man who is afraid of Putin

The US and Russia have spoken on several occasions to resolve the crisis, but have yet to narrow their differences. The State Department said on Sunday that it was ordering non-essential staff and relatives to leave the U.S. embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, for “plenty of caution” due to escalating tensions. The Department also issued warnings to Americans considering traveling to Ukraine and Russia.

Putin denies that Russia has any intention of attacking Ukraine, but has made it clear that he sees NATO’s military support for neighboring countries as a growing threat. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued two lengthy draft treaties listing what Moscow wants from the U.S. and its allies. They call for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, including the promise that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO, as well as US military ties with Ukraine and other former Soviet nations, all of which have been rejected as “non-initiators.” ”For the US

Whatever Putin says are his intentions, U.S. and NATO officials say they must be prepared after Russian forces invade Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine six years later. Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in 2014 and has since backed pro-Russian separatist militias in several cities in eastern Ukraine. Russia has continued to use these proxy forces to continue sowing disorder in the country and trying to gain more political support in the country.

“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies, including strengthening the eastern part of the alliance,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.. As part of the military cut on the mainland, Denmark planned to send a frigate to the Baltic Sea and four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania, the Netherlands is deploying two F-35 fighter jets to Bulgaria and France is ready to send troops . in Romania.

The announcement of Pentagon troops on Monday came on the same day as the start of a 12-day NATO naval exercise, Neptune Strike 22, in the Mediterranean Sea with the USS Aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, along with his attack group and air wing. The United States said the exercise had been going on for months and had nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine.