President Biden has approved the deployment of roughly 3,000 additional American troops to Europe “in the coming days“, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal confirmed on February 2. It is “the first major movement of US forces in Russia’s military standoff with Ukraine,” intended to shore up the defense of European allies, the Journal writes. According to a senior administration official, 2,000 soldiers from the US will join troops already in Poland and Germany, while 1,000 troops in Europe will move to join US troops currently in Romania, as reported by NBC News. The deployment was confirmed by Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, who assured the moves are not permanent and that forces are not going to fight in Ukraine; rather, they are going to bolster NATO allies.
On January 28, President Joe Biden said he planned to move US troops to Eastern Europe and NATO countries “in the near term.” This latest decision arrives after Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 1 accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands in the standoff. The move also follows word from Pentagon leaders claiming Putin “had deployed the necessary troops and military hardware to conduct an invasion of Ukraine.” Previously, Biden had said he would only deploy troops if Russia did actually invade, but he seems to have changed his opinion as the situation continues to unfold, adds Axios.
“Its important that we send a strong signal to Mr. Putin and the world that NATO matters,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a press conference. We are making it clear that we are going to be prepared to defend [our] NATO allies if it comes to that.” In Russia, a senior official said the US movements will complicate the crisis. “The unfounded destructive steps will only fuel military tensions and narrow the field for political decisions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba again played down fears of a Russian attack in a call with reporters but said that if Russia makes moves that could signal an imminent invasion Ukraine would react as necessary.