US Puts 8,500 Troops on Standby for Deployment Amid Russia Tensions

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The Pentagon says US troops are on standby to deploy to Europe, should Russia invade Ukraine Illustrative picture: 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers board a transport aircraft / Photo credit: Mike Buytas, USAF
The Pentagon says US troops are on standby to deploy to Europe, should Russia invade Ukraine Illustrative picture: 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers board a transport aircraft / Photo credit: Mike Buytas, USAF

The Pentagon is putting about 8,500 U.S.-based troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Europe to reassure allies amid rising fears of a possible Russian military move on Ukraine. It occur at President Joe Biden's direction

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday, January 24, that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recommended to US President Joe Biden that about 8,500 troops be ordered to prepare for potential deployment to Europe in light of signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not de-escalating his military pressure on Ukraine - Stars&Stripes is reporting.

US puts 8,500 troops on standby for deployment amid Russia tensions, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, Defense Express
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. The Pentagon says that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has put about 8,500 troops on heightened alert, so they will be prepared to deploy if needed to reassure NATO allies in the face of ongoing Russian aggression on the border of Ukraine / Photo credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

John Kirby said he was not prepared to identify the U.S.-based units because they were still being notified. The Defense Department spokesman also said the troops are primarily ground forces who could bring a host of capabilities to the European theater if needed, including logistics, medical, aviation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, transportation.

Read more: United States SOF are Helping Ukraine Amid Threat of Russian Invasion

"We've always said we would reinforce our allies on the eastern flank, and those conversations and discussions have certainly been part of what our national security officials have been discussing with their counterparts now for several weeks," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Later Monday, Biden was to hold a video call with several European leaders on the Russian military buildup and potential responses to an invasion, the White House said.

Kirby said Austin was anticipating the potential for NATO to activate what it calls the NATO Response Force, a multinational force totaling about 40,000 troops. Most of the 8,500 U.S. troops being put on higher alert would be sent as part of that response force, if it's activated, Kirby said. He added that he could not rule out that U.S. troops already based in Europe could be shifted east as further reinforcements.

US puts 8,500 troops on standby for deployment amid Russia tensions, Defense Express
Ukrainian soldiers stand on a check-point close to the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels, Mariupol, Donetsk region, Jan. 21, 2022 / Photo credit: Associated Press

The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed. NRF consists of a highly capable joint multinational force able to react in a very short time to the full range of security challenges from crisis management to collective defence.

US puts 8,500 troops on standby for deployment amid Russia tensions, Defense Express
NATO Allies decided to enhance the NRF in 2014 by creating a “spearhead force” within it, known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)

The decision to put the forces on standby comes amid growing tensions in eastern Europe as the West and NATO accuse Russia of preparing for an invasion of Ukraine. Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine alongside a mass deployment of tanks and artillery.

A similar buildup has been seen in Belarus, just to the north of Ukraine.

US puts 8,500 troops on standby for deployment amid Russia tensions, Defense Express
Belarus said on Jan. 18, 2022, that Russian troops had begun arriving in the country for military drills announced against the backdrop of tensions between the West and Russia over neighbouring Ukraine

Earlier CoffeeOrDie reported how Ukraine preppared for worst-case russian attack.

NATO said on Monday, January 24, it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets in response to Russia's military build-up at Ukraine's borders.

Read more: A New Russia-West Cold War Becomes Hot: Battle for Ukraine and for Common Sense
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