US Sending 2,000 More Troops to Europe to Bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank

A Ukrainian border guard patrols the border with Russia not far from Hoptivka village, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Feb. 2, 2022.

The U.S. said Wednesday it is dispatching 2,000 more troops to Europe, most of them to Poland, and moving 1,000 troops from Germany to Romania to bolster NATO’s eastern flank countries in the face of Russia’s continued military buildup along its border with Ukraine.

The additional U.S. troops, part of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, are “not going to fight in Ukraine” in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. Rather, he said, they are intended as an “unmistakable signal that we stand with NATO” in protecting the 30 countries in the West’s key military alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declared, “This is a powerful signal of U.S. commitment.”

Kirby said the new deployment is not permanent, but that the U.S. could dispatch more troops as warranted. He said the deployment is separate from the 8,500 U.S. troops placed on heightened alert last week for possibly being dispatched to Europe.

The Defense Department spokesman said the U.S. still does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made a decision on invading Ukraine.”

But Kirby said the Russian leader is “showing no signs of being willing to de-escalate” and has continued to add troops in Russian-aligned Belarus to Ukraine’s north and along Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine.

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