8,500 U.S. On High Alert For Possible Deployment To Eastern Europe
“Secretary Austin has placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate the NRF, or if other situations develop,” Kirby said. “All told, the number of forces that the secretary has placed on heightened alert comes up to about 8,500 personnel.”
NATO is assembling a response force of “around 40,000 multinational troops” in Eastern Europe in preparation for a potential attack from Russia on a NATO ally. Russian military forces have been amassing along the Ukraine border for weeks and are poised to strike. Sunday the U.S. urged American citizens to evacuate from Ukraine.
Kirby told reporters that the majority of the forces being prepared would reinforce the NATO response force.
“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.
President Joe Biden has previously stated that the U.S. would not deploy troops to directly defend Ukraine, instead vowing economic sanctions and other consequences should Russia move forward with an invasion. The U.S. however, has been delivering military equipment and funding to Ukraine for decades.
Kirby stated that Russia has given no signs of de-escalation, and appears to be moving forward with invasion preparations across the Ukraine border.
The U.S. as well as other NATO members have held multiple diplomatic talks with Russia this month, but no progress has been made toward de-escalation. NATO released a statement echoing Kirby’s announcement on Monday.
“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “The United States has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.”