Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby provided more details about President Biden's decision to order 3,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe Wednesday morning as tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to escalate. While Kirby reiterated that Russia has the capability to invade Ukraine, he said that conflict is not inevitable even as American troops prepare to head to Eastern Europe.
The Pentagon announces that 3,000 U.S. troops are being sent to Eastern Europe. pic.twitter.com/fePUmeZdR5— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 2, 2022
Kirby's announcement follows a statement from a senior Biden administration official that "at the President's direction and following Secretary Austin's recommendation, the Department of Defense will reposition certain Europe-based units further east, forward deploy additional U.S.-based units to Europe, and maintain the heightened state of readiness of response forces to meet these commitments. These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine," the official added. "They are not permanent moves. They respond to current conditions."
Of those 3,000 troops, "1,000 soldiers that are currently based in Germany will reposition to Romania in the coming days," Kirby explained of the Biden administration's decision. "This is a striker squadron, a mounted cavalry unit that's designed to deploy in short order and to move quickly once in place." These 1,000 troops "will augment" roughly 900 U.S. troops already in Romania, Kirby added.
The other 2,000 troops will be sent from North Carolina's Fort Bragg to Poland and Germany this week as part of the Biden administration's move aimed at strengthening the eastern flank of America's NATO allies that are closest to Russia and Putin's troops.
A brigade combat team from @82ndABNDiv will deploy to Poland in support of NATO, as tensions increase with Russia, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby just confirmed. The @18airbornecorps will move a joint task force headquarters to Germany.— RachaelRiley (@RachaelRiley85) February 2, 2022
"This force is designed to deter aggression and enhance our defensive capabilities in frontline allied states," Kirby continued. "We expect them to move in the coming days" as part of a repositioning Kirby said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discussed with Romania's minister of defense. "This move is coming at the express invitation of the Romanian government," Kirby said.
"We're not ruling anything in or out with this announcement," Kirby said to multiple questions seeking answers about actions from Russia that may have triggered Biden's decision to send troops to Europe. "We still don't believe [Putin's] made a decision," said Kirby regarding a potential invasion of Ukraine. "We simply don't know," he added.
"We want to make sure that [Putin] knows any move on NATO is going to be resisted and it's going to trigger Article V," Kirby explained.
The troops being sent to Europe in the coming days are in addition to the roughly 8,500 U.S. troops President Biden placed on "heightened alert," still awaiting potential activation as part of a NATO Response Force (NRF), as Townhall covered here.
"We will be as transparent with you as we possibly can," Kirby claimed of future news on additional U.S. troop movements in and around Europe as Russia continues amassing troops along its border with Ukraine.