Pentagon places 8,500 troops on “heightened preparedness to deploy.”
The NATO allies are strengthening their defenses in eastern Europe amid growing fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. The United States and its European allies have placed troops on high alert as the continent faces one of the most significant security threats since the collapse of the Soviet Union almost thirty years ago.
“NATO Allies are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defence as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine,” the defense alliance said in a statement on Monday.
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and has demanded the NATO withdrawal from eastern Europe. Moscow appears to have been emboldened after President Joe Biden recently suggested that President Vladimir Putin’s regime would not face full-scale sanctions over a “minor incursion” into Ukraine.
The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the NATO reinforcement in Europe:
The NATO defense alliance on Monday said it was dispatching additional fighter jets and ships to Eastern Europe amid tensions with Russia.
The move could escalate tensions in the Ukraine-Russia crisis, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any military buildup in the region by the trans-Atlantic military alliance would cross a “red line.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said US President Joe Biden and European leaders stand united with the western military alliance in their warning to Moscow that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a tough response.
“We agree that any further aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have severe costs,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter after an online meeting with Biden, and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain and the European Union.
EU foreign ministers gathered in Brussels earlier to discuss a coordinated response to the crisis, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attending virtually. Meanwhile, the US, UK and other countries were withdrawing embassy staff from Ukraine amid security concerns.
The U.S. Department of Defense has put 8,500 troops on “heightened preparedness to deploy.” These troops may form the NATO Response Force (NRF), a 40,000-strong mobile multinational force deployed to counter possible Russian aggression, media reports suggest.
The Associated Press reported the U.S. military preparedness::
The Pentagon ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert Monday to potentially deploy to Europe as part of a NATO “response force” amid growing concern that Russia could soon make a military move on Ukraine. President Joe Biden consulted with key European leaders, underscoring U.S. solidarity with allies there.
Putting the U.S.-based troops on heightened alert for Europe suggested diminishing hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin will back away from what Biden himself has said looks like a threat to invade neighboring Ukraine.
At stake, beyond the future of Ukraine, is the credibility of a NATO alliance that is central to U.S. defense strategy but that Putin views as a Cold War relic and a threat to Russian security. For Biden, the crisis represents a major test of his ability to forge a united allied stance against Putin.
Days after the news of the Biden State Department ordering a partial evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, other Western allies have announced similar measures. Public broadcaster France24 reported that “Britain and Australia followed the United States in ordering diplomats’ families to leave Kyiv, while France told citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Ukraine.”
The massive Russian invasion force at the doorsteps of East Europe is a far cry from the get-tough-on-Putin image sold by President Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. “Putin doesn’t want me to be President,” Biden declared in February 2020. “If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”
Today, the Biden State Department is thinning out embassy staff in Kyiv and reacting to perhaps the most extensive Russian military mobilization in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
It is worth noting that Putin did not amass troops on this scale or threaten to invade Ukraine when President Donald Trump was in the White House. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, home to the strategic Black Sea naval base, from Ukraine in 2014 — during President Barack Obama’s tenure.
Biden may have forgotten he tweeted this, but we sure haven't… https://t.co/Ee8CGiAVRV
— Carla Sands (@CarlaHSands) January 24, 2022
With the Biden White House preoccupied with the Russian military threat in eastern Europe, China tests the U.S. resolve in Asia. On Sunday, dozens of Chinese warplanes and bombers entered neighboring Taiwan’s air defense zone.
“China’s air force flew 39 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Sunday,” British newspaper The Guardian reported. Since President Biden took the White House, Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade the island nation, which the Chinese Communist Party regards as a renegade province.DONATE
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