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Why is President Biden sending 3,000 troops to NATO allies near Ukraine?

With Russian troops gathering on the Ukrainian border and additional resources arriving by sea, Biden has opted to increase the US' military presence in the region.

With Russian troops gathering on the Ukrainian border and additional resources arriving by sea, Biden has opted to increase the US' military presence in the region.

Officials have confirmed that the United States will move 3,000 American soldiers to Eastern Europe in response to Russian troops gathered on the Ukrainian border after President Biden approved the measure on Wednesday.

For weeks the Russian military has amassed a considerable military presence on its border with Ukraine, as well as stationing troops in the neighbouring nation of Belarus. Of the number sent by Biden, 2,000 will move from the US to Poland and Germany, while another 1,000 troops currently stationed in Europe will move to Romania, Pentagon officials have confirmed.

The White House is yet to comment on the decision but Pentagon press secretary John Kirby is expected to make an announcement at 10am (Eastern). Officials have reiterated that the move should not be seen as the precursor to any military intervention in the region, but is simply an effort to reassure Ukrainian forces.

NBC News quotes a Pentagon official as saying: “These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are not permanent moves. They respond to current conditions.”

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Will the American forces fight on the Ukrainian border?

The United States had maintained a policy of de-escalation in response to President Putin’s advances in the region and today’s news marks the first effort made by the White House to bolster the military presence.

Mulitple reports have claimed that around 100,000 Russian troops are currently stationed around Ukraine, a nation with deep cultural and political links to Russia, with advanced weaponry and additional support from the sea to the south.

General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff US Army, told reporters last week: “Given the type of forces that are arrayed, the ground manoeuvre forces, the artillery, the ballistic missiles, the air forces... If that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant, and it would result in a significant amount of casualties.”

With this in the mind the White House is understandably cautious about anything that could be viewed as an offensive measure, but Biden’s approval of a considerable troop deployment has reiterated that the situation is deteriorating. 

Earlier this week Pentagon leaders confirmed that Putin had amassed enough troops and military hardware near Ukraine to mount an invasion.

That area of Eastern Europe marks a point where NATO members like Germany and Poland meet with former members of the Soviet Union and attitudes towards Russian expansion remain complex.

Lt. Col. Tony Semelroth, spokesperson for the Pentagon, confirmed that the United States’ actions in the Ukraine-Russia conflict would support fellow NATO countries: “Our rotational forces are deliberate and defensive in nature and allow us to remain agile and flexible with our NATO allies to address the complex and dynamic security environment in which we operate.”