The Pentagon has placed 8,500 soldiers on heightened alert for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe amid growing tensions over Russia’s troop deployment along the border of Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the “bulk” of the troops could be used to bolster NATO’s quick response force in the event of Russian aggression.
“The United States has taken steps to heighten the readiness of its forces at home and abroad, so they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies, including support to the NATO response force if it is activated,” Kirby said.
He did not say which units were put on alert but said they included “additional brigade combat teams, logistics personnel, medical support, aviation support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as transportation, and maybe even some additional capabilities after that.”
Kirby noted that no decision has been made to deploy any troops.
The heightened alert comes as President Joe Biden held a video call with leaders of the European Commission, European Council, NATO, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom. They discussed ways to end the conflict through “diplomacy, deterrence and defense efforts.” They also discussed possible sanctions on Russia if its troops invade Ukraine.