Biden Orders to Send U.S. Troops Closer to Ukraine

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The Pentagon said that the deployment is designed to reassure NATO allies and deter potential aggression against alliance members. US President Joe Biden ordered US troops in Europe to strengthen the defense of states bordering Ukraine, the Pentagon said. Biden instructed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to send forces to the area of operations of the US European Command in the Baltic States, Poland and to the southeastern flank of NATO. The forces will be deployed within a week, representatives of the Ministry of Defense said. The deployment was preceded by a new Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and the mobilization of Russian forces at the borders of Ukraine. Austin ordered the transfer of an infantry battalion task force of about 800 soldiers from Italy to the Baltic States. He also approved the transfer of up to eight F-35 Lightning II aircraft from Germany to operational bases on NATO’s eastern flank. Twenty AH-64 Apache attack helicopters will also be transferred from Germany to the Baltic States, and 12 Apache helicopters from Greece to Poland. “The additional personnel will be repositioned to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member countries and train with the host nation forces,” the Defense Ministry said in a written statement. According to officials, repositioning is temporary. These are not the first measures designed to reassure the states located on the borders of NATO. The United States sent a thousand soldiers from a squadron equipped with Stryker armored vehicles from Germany to Romania. The infantry brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division will be transferred to Poland from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Companies equipped with Stryker armored vehicles will be deployed in Hungary and Bulgaria. In addition, Austin ordered 8,500 troops to be placed on heightened alert should NATO activate its Rapid Reaction Forces. Overall, there are about 90 thousand American troops in Europe. Germany may send additional troops to Lithuania and other eastern flank countries of NATO, German Defense Minister Kristine Lambrecht said. “It is clear that we need to introduce tougher deterrence measures,” Lambrecht said at a joint press conference with her Lithuanian counterpart at the Rukla military base. German soldiers make up about half of the NATO combat team in Lithuania, which includes soldiers from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. Possible reinforcements, which Lambrecht implied on Tuesday, will be an addition to the 360 German servicemen who are joining the combat team. Meanwhile, Norway has announced plans to increase its participation by 50-60 troops. In addition, London is sending 800 troops to the NATO combat team in Estonia, in which the UK plays a major role. After these and expected future reinforcements, NATO forces in the Baltic states - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - will almost double and will reach more than 6,000 troops in three battlegroups in each country, Lithuania’s Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters. The NATO troops in these three countries numbered about 3,400 people at the beginning of the year. “After all the additions, Lithuania and Estonia will have over 2,000 NATO troops each. In Latvia it may be a little less, but still quite a lot”, he said. Голос Америки