WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will deploy 3,000 troops to Germany and Poland as tensions with Russia over Ukraine mount, a defense official said Wednesday.
The deployment comes after the Pentagon last week placed 8,500 troops on high alert to support a NATO rapid reaction force if it is activated.
The 3,000 soldiers are sent to reinforce Allied forces in Germany, Poland and Romania. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. US troops would be drawn from units in the United States and others already in Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been massing troops on Ukraine’s border for months, raising concerns about an imminent invasion or full-scale invasion. He wants assurances that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO and other concessions from the West.
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The Pentagon estimates that more than 100,000 Russian forces are near the Ukrainian border. More Russian troops have arrived in recent days, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.
Last week, Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted a massacre of troops and civilians if Russia unleashed the infantry, artillery and air forces it has massed near Ukraine.
“It would be awful,” Milley said. “It would be terrible.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said it doesn’t believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a final decision about an invasion, but is ready to launch one.
“He clearly has that ability now,” Austin said.
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