US Considers Deploying Troops to Eastern Europe Amid Russian Threats

The United States is in discussions with NATO allies regarding the potential deployment of American military forces to Eastern Europe, a senior administration official revealed Monday, as President Joe Biden considers responses to Russian threats against Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 troops on “heightened alert” to support the defense of NATO allies, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced during a news briefing. However, Kirby emphasized that no deployment orders have been issued.

“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 clarified. “No decisions have been made to deploy forces from the United States at this time.”

With Russia amassing over 100,000 troops at Ukraine’s border and diplomatic solutions elusive, the West is intensifying its response amid growing concerns of an impending invasion.

Conversations are ongoing with NATO countries that could potentially host U.S. military forces as part of a strategy to deter Russian aggression, the official disclosed.

NATO announced Monday that it would dispatch ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe, noting that Washington “has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.”

Biden participated in a 90-minute video conference with European leaders later Monday to address Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, the White House confirmed. The conference included NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and other European leaders.

Following the meeting, Biden described it as “very, very, very good,” highlighting “total unanimity” among European leaders. He indicated that further statements on the issue would follow.

In a statement, the White House underscored continued concerns over Russia’s military buildup and reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has requested a White House briefing for all House members on the situation, according to sources. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has similarly requested a classified briefing for all senators next week.

Biden received a briefing from Defense Secretary Austin on potential U.S. responses to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, including military movement options, according to officials.

The briefing included proposals such as bomber flights over the region, increased naval presence in the Black Sea, and the redeployment of troops and equipment to neighboring countries like Poland and Romania.

Russian officials have denied plans for invasion and accused the West of escalating tensions.

As Biden evaluates responses, the State Department ordered the departure of family members of embassy personnel from Kyiv and authorized nonessential diplomatic staff to leave Ukraine. The department also advised against travel to Ukraine or Russia due to the risk of military action.

Ukraine criticized the withdrawal of diplomats’ families as premature, while U.S. allies were divided on following America’s lead.

Russian naval exercises commenced in the Baltic Sea on Monday, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. and NATO launched Exercise Neptune Strike ’22, involving training with NATO allies to enhance deterrence capabilities against Russia.