Ukraine crisis: Explaining the deployment of American troops in Eastern Europe – Last week, the United States announced that thousands of American troops would be deployed to Europe as tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated. It also follows failed negotiations between the Kremlin and NATO allies, after Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Western leaders for ‘assurances’ that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO. .
Why are there tensions between Russia and Ukraine?
The Russian-Ukrainian crisis did not start last year. Tensions date back to 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Crimea’s president was forced from power following a series of nationwide protests before the Russian government entered Ukrainian territory and backed the protesters.
Today, with around 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, Western forces believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.
US intelligence officials say Moscow has already made a number of excuses to invade Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin denies is the country’s plan. Such an excuse could be a propaganda video showing a staged attack on Russia, giving the Kremlin an excuse to enter Ukrainian territory.
US intelligence officials also said last December that Russia could be preparing to deploy up to 175,000 troops to the Ukrainian border in anticipation of an invasion.
The Pentagon deploys troops
In January, the Pentagon placed 8,500 US troops on standby for possible deployment. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby explained that the deployment was not necessarily imminent, but that the soldiers had been put on a “shorter leash” in anticipation of being sent overseas.
On Wednesday, however, the Pentagon announced that about 2,000 troops would be deployed to Europe from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 1,700 troops come from the 82nd Airborne Division Infantry Brigade Combat Team and they will go to Poland.
A thousand additional soldiers already stationed in Germany will be transferred to Romania, where around 900 soldiers are already stationed. Both countries border Ukraine.
In a statement, the Pentagon confirmed that the troops will be used to deter Russian aggression.
“These forward-deployed forces help deter aggression and, if deterrence fails, stand side-by-side with our Allies to maintain security and stability in Europe. At the President’s request and following Secretary Austin’s recommendation, the Department of Defense will reposition certain European-based units farther east, deploy additional U.S.-based units to Europe, and maintain heightened readiness. intervention forces to meet these commitments. reads a statement.
Kirby also told reporters on Wednesday that the deployment was not a “permanent” move and that the decision was “designed to respond to the current security environment.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher and journalist based in New York. Reporting from the UK, Europe and the US, it strives to analyze and understand left and right radicalisation, and reports on Western government approaches to pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and offer pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.