U.S. ready to deploy 8,500 troops to Ukraine as possible Russian invasion escalates
President Joe Biden on Monday said the nation is preparing troops and sending aid to the European country, despite its claims that a threat is not imminent.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the world nations on Tuesday, claiming that the heightened Russian invasion is not imminent, and that there is no need to panic.
Zelensky repeatedly claims the situation is under control as of Tuesday morning.
On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the media that the Pentagon has placed 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment, if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) activates the NATO Response Force.
“This will ensure that the United States and our commitment to the NATO Response Force is consistent with their readiness for rapid deployment, again, if activated,” said Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby.
Yet, Ukrainian officials continue to believe a Russian invasion will not occur anytime soon despite a large presence of about 100,000 Russian troops in surrounding areas.
In preparations for a potential war, NATO allies on Monday began sending warships and military equipment to Ukraine. Denmark, Spain, and France are all on standby, according to an Associated Press report.
Kirby said at a briefing that U.S. military deployment would also include units that specialize in “logistics, medicine, aviation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, transportation, and additional capabilities.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday warned that the Kremlin is taking a disastrous step with heavy military presence at Ukraine’s border.
“The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the border of Ukraine. The plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see,” Johnson said.
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met over several weeks as part of U.S. attempts to deescalate the threat. Russia, however, continues to deny any plan to invade.
The U.S. looks to promote diplomacy between Russia and preserve Ukraine, a once Soviet Union state now turned ally, in Eastern Europe. Yet, officials are concerned that Russian militia may be conducting a ‘false flag operation’ as they have done in the past.