President Joe Biden has officially approved sending thousands of U.S. troops to support North Atlantic Treaty Organization defenses in Eastern Europe as the Ukraine-Russia standoff continues.
For weeks, Russia has been amassing troops on the Ukraine border. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. estimated about 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.
Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to tell NATO and the rest of Europe that he is not planning on invading Ukraine, NATO and the U.S. have been on edge.
Now, Biden has authorized about 3,000 troops to assist European allies, as NBC News reported.
There are about 1,000 American soldiers in Germany that will be re-positioned to Romania soon. They will support other American forces already in the country, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
The soldiers are part of what is known as a Stryker infantry unit which is “designed to deploy in short order and to move quickly,” Kirby said, according to NBC News.
Another 2,000 troops will be deployed from the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Kirby said they will be sent to Germany and Poland, as Axios reported.
The troops are expected to be deployed in the next few days, but officials have given few specifics.
“They are trained and equipped for a variety of missions during this period of elevated risk,” a senior defense official said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This deployment of troops is also “meant to deter the threat against the alliance. We are literally willing to put skin in the game,” they added.
Other European countries, such as the UK, France and Denmark, are also taking measures to build up defenses in Eastern Europe, should Russia invade, Axios reported.
Biden will not send troops to Ukraine itself, since it is not a member of NATO, but over the past year he has approved $600 million of security assistance to Kyiv.
Originally Biden said that he would not be sending troops to Europe unless Russia actually invaded Ukraine.
The tensions between NATO, Russia and the U.S. have been mounting quickly.
At the beginning of the month, U.S. and Russian diplomats met in Geneva, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “There are no plans or intentions to attack Ukraine … There is no reason to fear some kind of escalatory scenario,” as NPR reported.
But Russian troops remained on the Ukraine border.
Then on Tuesday, Putin accused the U.S. and its European allies of trying to goad Moscow, as the Wall Street Journal reported.
Putin said that the U.S. and its allies ignored the demands for security assurance from the Kremlin.
“We didn’t see an adequate response to our key concerns,” Putin said at a Kremlin press conference Tuesday.
The Journal reported that at that press conference, he criticized NATO for persistently threatening Moscow with its eastern push.
Originally, Biden’s response to Moscow’s moves on the Ukraine border was to outline the punitive actions that would result if Russia invaded Ukraine.
He then increased military assistance to Ukraine and put troops on alert.
Now those troops that had been put on alert will be going to Europe since, as Kirby said, “These movements are unmistakable signals to the world that we stand ready to reassure our NATO allies and deter and defend against any aggression.”
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