The Biden administration is considering options to send additional troops to eastern Europe in support of NATO allies in response to Russia’s military aggression along the border of Ukraine that would be in addition to the 8,500 troops put on alert last week.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noted the troops that President Joe Biden referred to during a Friday speech could be repositioned from among U.S. forces already within Europe.
“We’re going through the rigorous work of providing options for the commander in chief should he decide to do that … in close consultation with the actual allies themselves,” Kirby said, according to a Reuters report.
“Any decisions on new troop movements would be separate from the some 8,500 forces in the United States who were put on alert last week to potentially bolster a NATO rapid response force,” the report added.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has continued to pursue a diplomatic resolution to the Russian military buildup while strongly opposing any Putin-led crossing into Ukraine.
“Any Russian attack or further incursion into Ukraine would not only ignite conflict. It would also violate the bedrock principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and self-determination,” Kirby said.
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) January 30, 2022
Russia previously invaded the Crimea area of Ukraine in 2014 and continues to pursue a commitment from world leaders that Ukraine will not join NATO.
“If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.
“If instead Russia chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences,” he added.
Today in the United Nations Security Council, the United States presented in detail the full nature of Russia’s threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
My full statement: https://t.co/4Y9JWZBFQN
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 31, 2022
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are slated to talk on Tuesday regarding the latest steps to de-escalate the situation.
On January 24, Biden put 8,500 U.S. military personnel on alert regarding a potential deployment to Europe. The Daily Wire reported:
Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration put thousands of U.S. soldiers on heightened alert on Monday as the situation in Eastern Europe deteriorates amid a possible invasion by Russian forces.
“I want to provide some facts on these preparations that will reinforce our commitment to NATO and to the NATO Response Force and increase our readiness,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. “Secretary Austin has placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate the NRF or if other situations developed.
Kirby added, “All told, the number of forces that the Secretary has placed on heightened alert comes up to about 8,500 personnel.”
The development comes as Russia has amassed approximately 100,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian border and is demanding concessions from the West, including never allowing Ukraine to join NATO. NATO has indicated that what Russia is demanding are nonstarters for the organization.
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