President Biden has approved the deployment of about 3,000 more US troops to Eastern Europe, administration officials said Wednesday.
Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said the troops, including 1,000 already in Germany, would go to Poland and Romania. Their aim is to reassure NATO allies that while the US has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening an invasion, Mr. Biden will defend America’s NATO allies. from any Russian aggression.
“It’s important that we send a strong signal to Putin and the world that NATO is important,” Kirby told reporters at a news conference. “We are making it clear that we will be prepared to defend our NATO allies if that happens.”
Right now, Russia is threatening Ukraine, not Romania or Poland. But Mr. Putin has made clear his distaste for both NATO and the redrawing of the map of post-Cold War Europe, which brought the former Soviet republics and satellite countries into military alliances. most important of the West. your doorstep.
The president’s decision came days after Pentagon leaders said Putin had deployed the troops and military hardware needed to launch an invasion of Ukraine. Senior Defense Department officials also said the stalemate was leading the United States, NATO allies and Russia into uncharted territory.
The number of Russian troops gathered at Ukraine’s border has reached 100,000 to the north, officials say, publicly confirming for the first time publicly what intelligence analysts have described. For many weeks.
Mr. Kirby said nearly 2,000 troops – most from Airborne Force 82 in Fort Bragg, NC – will arrive in Poland. While many of them were paratroopers, Mr Kirby said he did not expect the paratroopers to deploy to Poland in a “tactical operation”, which would heighten Russia’s anger even further.
Mr. Kirby added that the troops being moved to Romania would complement the French troops being deployed there.
The Biden administration has not ruled out sending more troops to Europe, and still has 8,500 US troops on “high alert” to be able to deploy NATO’s rapid response force.
When asked why Mr. Biden decided to unilaterally move troops, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the move had been discussed “for some time” with NATO partners and had no specific events. Which in recent days pushed Mr. Biden to deploy. Army soldiers.
“There is no question that Russia and President Putin continue to take steps to escalate, not de-escalate,” Psaki said. “So it’s not a point in time, but we’re looking at events over time.”
Mr. Kirby also said there would be no change in the status of the small number of US troops in Ukraine. More than 150 American military advisers are in Ukraine, trainers who have worked for many years near Lviv, in the western part of the country, far from the front lines. The current team includes Special Operations forces, primarily the Army’s Green Berets, as well as National Guard trainers from Florida’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“It’s a big, clear signal,” said Jim Townsend, a former senior Pentagon official for Europe and NATO policy. “It is also important that they go to the Black Sea. Finally, the Black Sea region is being recognized as a major theater. It’s not just the Baltics. “
Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/02/03/world/ukraine-russia-news Russia condemns US military deployment to Eastern Europe: Live updates