President Biden has approved the deployment of roughly 3,000 additional American troops to Europe "in the coming days", NBC News and The Wall Street Journal confirmed Wednesday. It's "the first major movement of U.S. forces in Russia's military standoff with Ukraine," intended to shore up the defense of European allies, the Journal writes.
According to a senior administration official, 2,000 soldiers from the U.S. will join troops already in Poland and Germany, while 1,000 troops in Europe will move to join U.S. troops currently in Romania, NBC News reports. The deployment was confirmed by Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, who assured the moves are not permanent and that forces are not going to fight in Ukraine; rather, they are going to bolster NATO allies.
On Friday, Biden said he planned to move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe and NATO countries "in the near term," NBC News adds. This latest decision arrives after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Moscow's demands in the standoff. The move also follows word from Pentagon leaders claiming Putin "had deployed the necessary troops and military hardware to conduct an invasion of Ukraine," notes The New York Times.
Previously, Biden had said he would only deploy troops if Russia did actually invade, but he seems to have changed his opinion as the situation continues to unfold, adds Axios.
"Its important that we send a strong signal to Mr. Putin and the world that NATO matters," Kirby told reporters at a press conference, per the Times. "We are making it clear that we are going to be prepared to defend [our] NATO allies if it comes to that."