As fears of Russian aggression into Ukraine grow, thousands of U.S. troops have been placed on standby for deployment to eastern Europe.
President Joe Biden’s decision to alert the military units on Monday represents an abrupt change in approach to the crisis as tensions worsen along the Ukrainian border. The Biden Administration had been trying to reach a diplomatic solution with Moscow for weeks but has refused to mobilize military troops. But the lack of progress—and continued build-up of Russian forces—has prompted Biden reevaluate the U.S. options, say administration officials.
In light of intelligence warnings about a Russian invasion in Ukraine, President Obama is considering sending thousands of soldiers, warplanes, and naval vessels into eastern Europe and the Baltic States. NATO announced separately Monday that additional fighter jets, ships and aircraft were being moved to eastern Europe as part of its defense of the eastern flank.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said up to 8,500 U.S. service members were put on heightened alert for deployment to bolster NATO allies’ eastern defenses should Russia invade. Kirby stated that the forces wouldn’t be deployed to Ukraine as Ukraine isn’t a NATO member. Kirby also said they would not take part in combat roles. Instead, Kirby explained, they will serve to reinforce allies in countries like Poland and Romania in order to deter Russian aggression. The NATO Response Force, a rapid-reaction force with intelligence and air components that can be mobilized in an emergency, would activate the troops.
“No decisions to deploy have been made,” Kirby said. “I don’t think anybody wants to see another war on the European continent, and there’s no reason why that has to occur.”
The Biden Administration so far has not threatened U.S. military actions if Russian President Vladimir Putin forces his troops into Ukraine. However, it promised to continue military and economic support for Ukrainian forces as well as sweeping economic sanctions.
Kirby stated that the U.S. has identified several units for deployment, including logistics, intelligence, transport, and medical. “Some of these forces were already on a heightened posture readiness to deploy posture,” Kirby said. “So in some cases, units would go from say 10 days prepared to deploy and now they’re at five days.”
Biden received a briefing from Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary, and General Mark Milley (Joint Chiefs Chairman) via teleconference on Saturday regarding the military options for Ukraine. About 200 U.S. troops currently reside in the country. Members of the Florida National Guard provide training to Ukrainian soldiers. While the United States has approximately 70,000 soldiers in Europe, only about 6,000 troops are in eastern Europe. The majority of them are in Poland. There, forces operate on a rotational basis. An administration official said that Austin and Milley gave the president several options to move forces in Europe eastward, and were preparing to send additional U.S. troops if needed.
Since Russia started deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along its Ukrainian border, the White House and European allies had to scramble for months. According to analysts, this deployment may be the biggest Russian troop buildup in Europe since the Cold War. Putin tried to leverage it against America to lower troops, weapons, and influence at his borders.
Continue reading:Putin is afraid of the Man
Although the U.S. has tried to solve the crisis on numerous occasions, Russia and it have not been able to come to an agreement. The State Department said Sunday it was ordering nonessential staff and family members to leave the U.S. embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, out of “an abundance of caution” due to the escalating tensions. American citizens considering traveling to Russia or Ukraine were also advised by the Department.
Putin has denied Russia any intent to attack Ukraine. However, he stated that NATO’s military support of neighboring nations is an increasing threat. The Russian Foreign Ministry released two draft agreements last month that detailed what Moscow expects from America and its allies. They call for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, including a pledge that Ukraine will not be permitted to join NATO, as well as to the U.S. military’s ties with Ukraine and other former Soviet nations, all of which have been dismissed as “non-starters” by the U.S.
No matter what Putin claims, his intentions will be respected.,U.S. officials and NATO representatives say they have to be ready for Russian troops invading Georgia in 2008, and Ukraine six years later. Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in 2014, and since then has been supporting pro-Russian separatist militias within several Ukrainian cities. Russia continued to make use of these proxy troops to create disorder in Ukraine and to try to win more political support.
“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.Denmark had planned to send four F-16 fighter planes to Lithuania and a frigate from the Baltic Sea to Denmark as part of its military retrenchment. The Netherlands will also send two F-35 fighter aircrafts to Bulgaria. France has the option to send troops into Romania.
The Pentagon’s troop announcement Monday came the same day that a 12-day NATO naval exercise, Neptune Strike 22, began in the Mediterranean Sea with the USSHarry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group, air wing, and personnel. The U.S. claimed that the exercise took place months ago and had nothing to do with the current Ukrainian situation.