Washington D.C., Jan 25: Tensions in Ukraine are at an all time high in the post soviet era. Around 100,000 Russian troops have gathered on the Ukrainian border with invasion threats coming on a daily basis.
The US is putting 8,500 troops on ‘heightened alert’ for possible deployment in Eastern Europe in view of the Russian aggression near the Ukraine border. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that US defense secretary Lloyd Austin's order to place 8,500 military personnel to heightened preparedness would allow America to rapidly deploy additional brigade combat teams, along with units.
Kirby told reporters that giving the US military personnel enough time to prepare makes “prudent sense” in case Nato activates its Response Force as Russia has “no intention right now of de-escalating”. The US forces placed on alert would be in addition to the significant combat-capable troops already based in Europe “to deter aggression and enhance the alliance’s ability to defend allies and defeat aggression if necessary,” said Kirby.
"Again, I want to reinforce that as of now the decision has been made to put these units on higher alert and higher alert only," Kirby said. "No decisions have been made to deploy any forces from the United States at this time."
While Russia has denied intention to invade Ukraine, its aggression along the border has caused concern to the West, prompting a visit to Kyiv by US state secretary Antony Blinken and meeting with European allies. US President Joe Biden also held what he called a “great” call with European leaders as they work to strike a unified position on Russia.
Biden had said that the US, in case of an invasion, would respond with stringent economic sanctions but the latest order indicates that the US President wants to send a stronger military message to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as fears of invasion grow.
"As [President Joe Biden] has made clear, the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies or partners," the spokesperson said.