How many American troops has the government sent to the Russian border?
The United States has already pledged $650 million of military aid for Ukraine and reports suggest that the White House is considering sending US troops to the border.
As the situation on the Ukraine-Russia border continues to escalate both the United States and the United Kingdom have began advising diplomats and their families living in Kyiv to leave the country.
The US has warned that an invasion could come “at any time” and recommended that all relatives of embassy staff leave the Ukrainian capital. The decisions are thought to be precautionary at this stage but with more than 100,000 Russian troops stationed at the border the withdrawal is an acceptance of the precarious situation in Eastern Europe.
A travel advisory from the State Department added: “The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice.”
For now, the US has not sent any troops to Ukraine to help secure the border with Russia, but ongoing conversations in Washington focus on the need to curb the threat of Russian expansion.
US considers sending troops to the Ukrainian border
The New York Times reports that President Biden is considering deploying several thousand troops to support NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, amid mounting fears of a Russian invasion.
The United States has maintained a fairly restrained position on Ukraine, appearing unwilling to provoke Russian forces into a more aggressive action. However as Russian forces continue to amass at the border hopes of a diplomatic solution seem increasingly unlikely. President Putin has long seen Ukraine a major strategic goal for Russia and his refusal to back down in recent weeks may push Biden to seriously consider intervening.
On Saturday Biden met with senior Pentagon officials at Camp David and was presented with several options to mitigate Putin’s ambitions in Eastern Europe. Sources suggest that this could include sending up to 5,000 troops to the area to be deployed by NATO allies, with a contingency to increase that number ten-fold if required.
“Even as we’re engaged in diplomacy, we are very much focused on building up defence, building up deterrence,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted on CBS yesterday. “NATO itself will continue to be reinforced in a significant way if Russia commits renewed acts of aggression. All of that is on the table.”
Military support sent to aid Ukrainian defences
The US remains unwilling, for now, to send Americans to the Ukrainian border but Biden has approved a significant distribution of “lethal aid” to support Ukraine’s military. NPR report that around $650 million in defence equipment and other services has been pledged over the past year.
Most recently, in December President Biden approved a $200 million shipment comprising more than 90 tons of military aid for Ukraine. But as Russian forces continue to gather at the Ukrainian border there is concern that additional support may be required. It is thought that this could potentially include additional ammunition, mortars, Javelin anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missile systems to help resist a Russian occupation.
"The United States and its allies and partners are standing together to expedite security assistance to Ukraine," Blinken tweeted last Friday. "We are utilizing all available security cooperation tools to help Ukraine bolster its defences in the face of Russian aggression."
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