Pentagon confirmed on Monday briefing that it is readying up to 8,500 U.S. troops to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe amid concerns over Ukraine invasion.
“The United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies, or partners,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters Monday.
“Secretary Austin has placed a range of units in the U.S. on heightened preparedness to deploy…about 8,500 personnel…No decisions have been made to deploy any forces from the United States at this time,” Kirby said.
Defense Department press secretary John Kirby stressed during his regular briefing that no final decision had been made about whether to send troops to the region as part of a 40,000-strong NATO Response Force (NRF) in the event Russia invades its western neighbor.
US President Joe Biden, European leaders and NATO stand united in their warning to Moscow that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a tough response, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said late on Monday.
“We agree that any further aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have severe costs,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter after an online meeting with Biden, and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain and the European Union.