The Pentagon said on Wednesday that President Joe Biden is sending around 2,000 U.S.-based troops to Poland and Germany as well as shifting 1,000 additional soldiers from Germany to Romania.
The action is intended to show both allies and foes that America is committed to NATO’s eastern flank as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue.
Russia’s response included a harsh objection, saying that the deployments were unfounded and “destructive.” Russian President Vladimir Putin had an additional telephone exchange with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but neither government indicated the call had resulted in any progress.
Putin said the West was not giving any ground on Russia’s security concerns, and Johnson expressed serious fears over Russia’s “hostile activity” on the border between the two countries.
None of the American troops are being sent directly to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that the administration has ceased calling a Russian invasion “imminent,” as that implies Washington has knowledge of an explicit decision to invade.
But the increased number of U.S. military personnel in Eastern Europe is what Putin has already said he finds intolerable, as well as the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO.
Still, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby noted that the U.S. forces preparing to deploy are only intended to temporarily bolster U.S. and allied positions of defense.
“These are not permanent moves,” said Kirby, emphasizing that the purpose is to reassure American allies. He added that Russia has continued its buildup, even earlier this week, although the U.S. has continued to urge that the country deescalate their level of threat.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WBBJTV.COM