President Joe Biden indicated on Friday night that he plans to send troops to Eastern Europe in the "near term."
The remarks came as the president was at Joint Base Andrew after his trip to Pittsburgh, where he discussed infrastructure. "I’ll be moving troops to eastern Europe in the NATO countries in the near term. Not too many," he said.
Such an indication echoes remarks that Biden made earlier in the week. On Tuesday, as his handlers tried to shuffle him away, the president answered a question about "deploying the troops."
The president responded that it depends on "what Putin does or doesn't do," and that "I may be moving some of those troops in the nearer term, just because it takes time." Additionally, he indicated that "we have no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces in Ukraine. But we — as I said, there are going to be serious economic consequences if he moves."
For all of this talk of "serious economic consequences," it appears the president isn't quick to act on them. Sanctions, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for against Russia, are still being finalized and have not yet been imposed.
While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) earlier this month offered legislation that would impose sanctions related to the Nordstream 2 pipeline, it failed with a vote of 55 to 44. The Biden administration appears to be the one taking the lead though in using the pipeline as a bargaining chip with Russia.
There are also units on high alert in the region. According to Jack Durschlag for Fox News, Pentagon Press Secretary Jack Kirby on Monday indicated that 8,500 troops are on "heightened preparedness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate" the NATO response force.
The Biden administration has stressed that "diplomacy and dialogue" is their preferred option when it comes to dealing with a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, though Secretary of State Antony Blinken claims there will be a "swift response" if necessary.