U.S. to move 3,000 troops closer to Ukraine as Russia crisis escalates

American soldiers walk single file to board a C-130 plane for a flight to Kuwait for their final withdrawal from Iraq at Sather Air Base on December 3, 2011 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Scott Peterson | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon will move some of its Europe-based forces further east and deploy additional US-based troops to Europe, as the security situation on Ukraine’s border with Russia continues to deteriorate.

President Joe Biden will send 2,000 troops in the US to Poland and Germany, where they will join other troops, NBC News reported, citing a senior administration official. Another 1,000 who are already in Europe will be moved to Romania, the official added.

“These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are not permanent moves. They respond to current conditions,” the official told NBC News.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

The deployment comes as an estimated 100,000 Russian troops equipped with advanced weaponry line Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia and northern border with Belarus, a Moscow ally.

Last week, the Pentagon’s top officials warned that the aftermath of a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “horrific.”

“Given the type of forces that are arrayed, the ground maneuver forces, the artillery, the ballistic missiles, the air forces, all of it packed together. If that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant, and it would result in a significant amount of casualties, “Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff US Army Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday.

“It would be horrific,” Milley added.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, answers questions from reporters about Russia and the crisis in Ukraine during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, US, January 28, 2022.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Milley, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, said that Russia’s posture along Ukraine’s border was unlike anything he has seen during his four-decade military career.

He said the Russians have deployed air forces, naval forces, special forces, cyber electronic warfare, command and control, logistics engineers and other capabilities along Ukraine’s border.

The Kremlin has denied that the troop deployment is a prelude to an attack and has instead characterized the movement as a military exercise.

Russian officials have repeatedly called on the US to prevent an eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance.

Russia has also demanded that the US “shall not establish military bases” in the territories of any former Soviet states that are not already members of NATO, or “use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.”

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin again accused Western nations of ignoring key Russian security concerns, following the US ‘refusal last week to concede to Moscow’s demands over Ukraine and NATO.

Putin said during a press conference on Tuesday that the US wanted to “contain Russia” and that any possible membership of Ukraine in NATO would “undermine Russia’s security.”

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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