US to send nearly 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe in coming days
President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday announced the deployment of nearly 3,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe in the coming days amid a standoff with Russia over Ukraine, aimed at protecting allies NATO of a possible overflow if war breaks out. The deployments to Poland and Romania exceed the 8,500 U.S. troops the Pentagon put on alert last month to be ready to deploy to Europe if needed.
Together, these measures aim to reassure nervous NATO allies in the face of a major Russian military build-up near Ukraine while avoiding further US deployments in Ukraine itself, which is not part of NATO but receives weapons. and a formation of the United States and its allies. Biden’s deployments could also signal a willingness to take more proactive military action as Russia’s buildup continues despite ongoing efforts to diplomatically defuse the crisis.
“It’s important that we send a strong signal to Mr. Putin and, frankly, to the world that NATO matters to the United States and to our allies,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing. press conference, referring to Russian President Vladimir. Putin. A Stryker squadron of mechanized infantry forces comprising about 1,000 U.S. military personnel based in Vilseck, Germany, will be sent to Romania, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon also said about 1,700 military personnel, mostly from the 82nd Airborne Division, would deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland, and another 300 military personnel would move from Fort Bragg in Germany.
The Pentagon left open the possibility of additional US deployments beyond those announced on Wednesday. This signaled a willingness and need to do more to prepare for potential conflict in Europe. “I can’t be perfectly predictive of how this is going to turn out, and it’s precisely because we can’t be perfectly predictive that we want to be prepared,” Kirby said.
The 8,500 U.S. troops notified of ready-to-deploy orders last week included additional brigade combat teams, logistics personnel, medical support, air support and forces involved in intelligence, surveillance and combat missions. acknowledgement. They would be activated by NATO, if the need arose, according to the Pentagon.
Russia denies planning an invasion. But, having engineered the ongoing crisis by surrounding Ukraine with forces from the north, east and south, Moscow now cites the Western response as evidence to support its narrative that Russia is the target, not the target. instigator, of aggression. Russia, which took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backs pro-Russian rebels fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, is demanding sweeping security guarantees, including a pledge that NATO will not will ever admit Ukraine.
The United States rejected those calls, saying it would be up to Ukraine and NATO to decide whether Kiev would join the alliance. Kirby remained hopeful that Putin would eventually opt for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
“We still don’t believe he made the decision to invade Ukraine further,” Kirby said.
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