US to send additional troops to Eastern Europe amid Ukraine tensions

Feb 2, 2022: The Pentagon says amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the US is sending 2,000 additional troops to Europe and redeploying another 1,000 from Germany to Romania.

US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that the deployment would take place in the coming days. He said it was different from the 8,500 troops the Pentagon had placed on high alert last week.

However, Kirby stressed that US forces would not be stationed in Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that 1,700 US troops would be deployed from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Poland and another 300 would be sent to Germany from the base. Russia’s military is gathering troops near the country’s border with Ukraine, creating a diplomatic crisis and raising concerns in the US and Europe that Moscow is preparing for a possible attack on its neighbor.

“These movements are unmistakable signals to the world that we stand ready to reassure our NATO allies and deter and defend against any aggression,” Kirby said.

Russia has denied any plans to invade, but has strongly opposed Ukraine’s bid to join NATO. Moscow also wants security guarantees that the US-led coalition will halt its expansion into the former Soviet republic, but Washington and NATO have rejected the demand as “non-starter”.

On Wednesday, Kirby confirmed to media reports that Washington had offered to allow Moscow to confirm that there were no Tomahawk cruise missiles at Romanian and Polish bases – on the condition that Russia reciprocates with its own “transparency measures”.

In documents published earlier, the US addressed Russia’s security concerns last week, but senior Russian officials have responded with wariness to Washington’s position.

Putin said the Kremlin was studying a response from the US and NATO but said the replies had been far from adequate. He accused the US of using Ukraine as a “tool” in its efforts to contain Russia, but said it was still possible to find a solution to end the crisis.

“I hope that we will eventually find a solution, although we realise that it’s not going to be easy,” Putin said.

Kirby also told reporters on Wednesday that war can be avoided.

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