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In Monday’s Pentagon Briefing, Press Secretary John Kirby announced that roughly 8,500 U.S. troops were being placed on “heightened alert” at President Joe Biden’s direction amid rising fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, citing a commitment to our “national interests,” among other things.
The troops would be used for possible deployment as part of a NATO Response Force if needed, according to Kirby.
“Secretary Austin has placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate the NRF or if other situations develop,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “All told, the number of forces that the secretary has placed on heightened alert comes up to about 8,500 personnel.”
“This will ensure that the United States and our commitment to the NRF is consistent with their readiness for rapid deployment if activated,” Kirby continued. “In the event of NATO’s activation of the NRF or a deteriorating security environment, the United States would be in a position to rapidly deploy additional brigade combat teams, logistics, medical, aviation, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, transportation, and additional capabilities into Europe.”
Kirby said the move was about “reassurance to our NATO allies.”
“We’re going to be ready, we’re going to be prepared to help bolster our allies with capabilities they might need,” he explained. “We’re going to do this in lockstep with them … This is really about reassuring the Eastern flank of NATO.”
“I want to reinforce that as of now, the decision has been made to put these units on higher alert and higher alert only,” said Kirby. “No decisions have been made to deploy forces from the United States at this time.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly amassed more than 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border and there are concerns that an invasion is imminent.
“NATO said Monday it is bolstering its ‘deterrence’ in the Baltic Sea region. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 warplanes to Lithuania; Spain is sending four fighter jets to Bulgaria and three ships to the Black Sea to join NATO naval forces; and France stands ready to send troops to Romania,” the Associated Press reported. “The Netherlands also plans to send two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April.”
The Kremlin moved on Crimea when President Barack Obama was in office, and after no aggression in the region under President Donald Trump Russia appears to be ramping up its ambitions again with Biden in office.
The increasing tensions involving Ukraine comes as President Biden is entrenched in any number of domestic crises, be it the ongoing COVID-19 surge, inflation and other economic concerns, or a supply chain crisis that’s not going away. At the same time, the president’s approval rating is hitting record lows.
Amid all the saber-rattling, former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, the man who killed Osama bin Laden and knows something about sending Americans to fight wars, took to Twitter with this reminder: “Keep in mind: politicians will start foreign wars to distract us from domestic issues.”
Keep in mind: politicians will start foreign wars to distract us from domestic issues.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) January 25, 2022
With the Biden administration’s heavy-handed approach to U.S. troops being vaccinated, which included attempts to punish a group of 35 Navy Seals who refused to get vaccinated, which was blocked by a judge when the group sued the federal government , the announcement was met with a bit of snarky skepticism, as seen here:
The USA is not prepared to engage in a war against an adversary that’s ruthlessly willing to fight without wearing a mask. https://t.co/jsG1ulcwOY
— PlayTheTrumpCard ⚡️ Trump 2024 (@PlaysTrumpCard) January 24, 2022
Will these 8,500 troops have to test negative for COVID-19 before being deployed? https://t.co/JoOmxefVTq
— Titania (@Titania977) January 24, 2022
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