During a press appearance at Joint Base Andrews on Friday, Joe Biden said he is sending American troops to Eastern European NATO countries “in the near term.” The deployment of forces to the area is perceived as a rebuke and challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia continues to assemble troops and equipment near its border with Ukraine, with more than 100,000 personnel reportedly already in place there.
During his speech upon returning from a trip to Pittsburgh to promote his infrastructure policies, Biden said that he would be “moving troops,” but “not too many.”
Russia continues to deny that it plans to invade Ukraine, while several Western nations have said they will come to assist if Russia does make aggressive moves toward the former member of the USSR.
Biden has recently made public statements that gave the impression he is willing to accept some level of Russian invasion into Ukraine. Both times White House staff has massaged the statements to preserve the narrative that the US will not tolerate any invasion. Officials in Ukraine have asked Biden to stop making statements that could lead to panic.
Biden reiterated on Friday that Russia would be subject to harsh sanctions if it follows through on actually attacking Ukraine. Biden’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley also made a press appearance on Friday and said that he was continuing to seek a diplomatic solution to the situation. He added that Russia would incur “horrific costs” if it invaded.
Milley said that the forces, artillery, missiles, and air forces that Russia has assembled near the border could create a “significant amount of casualties” inside Ukraine. He added that the US is “ready, capable, and prepared” to carry out its obligations under its treaty with NATO. Even though Ukraine is not a NATO member, he said that an attack against one NATO “ally” is an attack “against us all.”
According to Biden’s orders, the Pentagon has placed around 8,500 active troops on high alert for deployment to undisclosed Eastern European locations.