In response to Russia’s continuing build-up of forces on its western border with Ukraine and in Belarus, the Pentagon has announced the deployment of additional U.S. troops to Romania, Poland and Germany to support its allies.
The move evoked strong criticism by Russia, which cited it as a “destructive” step that will only help escalate tension and lessen the chances for a political solution.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “US de facto is continuing to pump up tension in Europe.” The deployments are “the best proof that we, as Russia, have an obvious reason to be worried,” he told CNN.
Moscow has deployed a full range of military capabilities, stationing around 100,000 troops on its western border. It denies any plans to attack Ukraine.
While U.S. officials still believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made up his mind to invade Ukraine again, he certainly has the capabilities needed to do so, the Pentagon says.
“The current situation demands that we reinforce the deterrent and defensive posture on NATO’s eastern flank,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said at a news conference Wednesday. “President Biden has been clear that the United States will respond to the growing threat to Europe’s security and stability. Our commitment to NATO Article Five and collective defense remains ironclad,” Kirby added.
The United States is sending about 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Europe in the next few days, Kirby said.
A 1,000-member Army Stryker squadron will deploy to Romania from Germany. They will join roughly 900 U.S. service members already in that country. “This force is designed to deter aggression and enhance our defensive capabilities in frontline allied states,” Kirby told reporters. The troops will begin moving out in a couple of days. The deployment is at the request of the Romanian government.
These deployments are in addition to around 8,500 combat-ready soldiers on alert to deploy at short notice as the tense situation along the Russia-Ukraine border evolves.
The situation in the region is fluid and the United States will continue to review force posture, “and we will make adjustments as the situation warrants,” Kirby said.
He added that these deployments are prudent and temporary and done in consultation with European allies, and that the forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. “They’re going to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies.”
The United States is not the only nation beefing up troop presence in the front-line states. French President Emmanuel Macron has announced sending units to Romania. Spain, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are also consulting with allies to deploy forces to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank.
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