Russia-Ukraine tensions: Biden deploys more US troops to Europe amid growing war fears

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will send about 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland and Germany this week and move about 1,000 German troops to Romania, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Biden has said he will not send American troops to Ukraine to counter any Russian incursions, even though the United States is supplying Ukraine with weapons to defend itself.

The military moves come amid stalled negotiations with Russia over a military build-up on the Ukrainian border. And they underscore growing concerns across Europe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to invade Ukraine. The smaller NATO countries on the alliance’s eastern flank worry that they could be next, although Russia has said it has no intention of starting a conflict and is ready to continue diplomatic efforts.

The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the unannounced military moves.

Biden said recently that he intends to provide more US forces to NATO allies in Eastern Europe to reassure America’s commitment as treaty allies.

The Pentagon has also put about 8,500 US troops on heightened alert for possible deployment to Europe as an additional reassurance for allies, and officials have pointed to the possibility of units Supplements may soon be put on higher alert. The United States already has between 75,000 and 80,000 troops in Europe as a permanently stationed force and as part of forces that rotate frequently in place, such as Poland.

Washington and Moscow are in a state of anxiety over Ukraine, with little sign of a diplomatic path forward. A Spanish newspaper reported on Wednesday that the United States may be ready to sign an agreement with Russia to ease tensions over missile deployments in Europe if Moscow backs down from the brink in Ukraine.

El Pais daily published two documents believed to be US and NATO responses last week to Russia’s proposals for a new security agreement in Europe. The US State Department declined to comment on them.

Referring to the second document, NATO said it never commented on “supposed leaks”. But the text closely mirrors statements made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week when he laid out the 30-nation military organization’s position on Russia’s demands.

The US document, marked as classified “not on paper”, said that the US would be willing to discuss in consultation with its NATO partners “a transparent mechanism to confirm the absence of Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland. . “

That would happen on the condition that Russia “introduces reciprocal transparency measures for two ground-launched missile bases of our choice in Russia.”

Aegis Ashore is a defense system against short or medium range missiles. Russia argues that the site in Romania could be easily adjusted to fire cruise missiles instead of interceptors, which hit targets and carry no warheads, a claim Washington denies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin again mentioned the possibility on Tuesday, saying “there are MK-41 launchers that can be configured to fire Tomahawks.” He said they “are attack systems that can go thousands of kilometers into our territory. Isn’t that a threat to us?”

The US document said Washington would have to consult with its NATO allies about a potential offer, particularly with Romania and Poland.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the leaked documents, saying only that “we are not disclosing anything”. In comments to state news agency RIA Novosti, the Russian Foreign Ministry also refused to confirm or deny that the documents published by El Pais are authentic.

Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have grown in recent months, after Putin deployed more than 100,000 troops to areas near the Ukrainian border, including neighboring Belarus, backed by Russia’s military. tanks, artillery, helicopters and fighters. Russian officials insist that Moscow does not intend to invade.

The US stressed after its written proposal in the leaked document that “progress can only be made on these issues in a de-escalation environment regarding Russia’s threatening actions against Ukraine.”

In his first public address to the standoff in more than a month, Putin on Tuesday accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s central security demands but said Moscow was ready. talk more to ease tensions over Ukraine.

His remarks suggest that a potential Russian invasion may not be happening and that at least another round of diplomacy is possible.

After talks in Kyiv on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stressed that “it is essential to continue the dialogue.” Otherwise, Rutte, said, “it is clear that further aggression against Ukraine will have serious consequences.”

Russia’s military build-up has taken a toll on Ukraine’s economy, but Zelenskyy said his government has taken steps to appease the market and the local currency, the hryvnia. He said Ukraine has also strengthened its combat capabilities and armed forces, but stressed that “we only think about peace and do not occupy (our) territories, only through diplomacy.”

It is noteworthy that none of the leaked documents were any mention of Ukraine’s hopes of joining NATO. Putin has demanded that NATO stop accepting any new members and withdraw troops and equipment from countries that have joined the alliance since 1997, nearly half the bloc’s ranks.

In leaked NATO-related documents, the 30 allies said they “reaffirmed our commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy,” without specifically mentioning Ukraine. Under Article 10 of the treaty that established NATO, other European states may be invited to join if they continue to fulfill the objectives of European security.

At a 2008 NATO summit, NATO leaders said they welcomed Ukraine and Georgia’s aspirations to become NATO members in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Russia invaded Georgia later that year and in 2014 annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula. About 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict still simmering in eastern Ukraine. Their membership plans have been delayed for years, although NATO continues to support them and push for reforms.


Litvinova reported from Moscow. Associated Press writers Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Matthew Lee, Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington, Aritz Parra in Madrid and Mike Corder in The Hague contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Russia-Ukraine tensions: Biden deploys more US troops to Europe amid growing war fears

Dais Johnston

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