US troops heading to Eastern Europe to combat Ukraine crisis

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President Joe Biden on Friday night announced he would soon send a small number of US troops to bolster the Nato presence in Eastern Europe amid a growing crisis in Ukraine.

“I’ll be moving troops to Eastern Europe and the Nato countries in the near term. Not too many,” Mr Biden told reporters on return to Washington from a speech in Philadelphia. 

The Pentagon has put 8,500 troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Nato countries in eastern Europe.  

Asked earlier this week about what would lead to the deployment of the combat troops, Mr Biden said it depends on “what Putin does or doesn’t do.”

Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused Mr Biden and other Western leaders of whipping up “panic” over a possible Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian president publicly criticised the White House for “amplifying” the risk, describing it as a “mistake in my opinion”, in what was seen as an extraordinary put-down.

Mr Zelensky said: “I’m the president of Ukraine. I’m based here and I think I know the details deeper than any other president.”

Mr Zelensky’s comments came after a phone call with the US president, which a Ukrainian official claimed “did not go well”.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the alliance was ready to increase its troop presence in eastern Europe and was watching very closely as Russia moves soldiers and weapons in Belarus.

Stoltenberg, speaking online from Brussels at a Washington think-tank event, said Russia was deploying thousands of combat-ready troops, aircraft and S-400 weapon systems into Belarus.

“From the NATO side we are ready to engage in political dialogue. But we’re also ready to respond if Russia chooses an armed conflict confrontation,” Stoltenberg said. “We are not planning to deploy combat-ready troops to Ukraine.” (

It came as Russia’s military build-up expanded to include supplies of blood that would allow it to treat casualties, an indicator of its readiness to invade.

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Russia had massed enough forces to launch a full-scale invasion with “little warning”.

“You can imagine what that might look like in dense urban areas, along roads and so on and so forth. It would be horrific. It will be terrible,” he said.

Mr Biden has put 8,500 US-based troops on heightened preparedness to deploy as part of the Nato Response Force. But the activation of the force, which could ultimately number up to 40,000, requires the support of all 30 member countries on the North Atlantic Council.

It has never been activated in response to a Russian threat.

(Troopers with Task Force LOBOS participate in base defense training during Allied Spirit 22 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Jan. 28, 2022 – U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jason Greaves)

Read more via The Telegraph/BBC/The Guardian

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