The military moves come amid stalled talks with Russia over its military buildup at Ukraine’s borders. And they underscore growing fears across Europe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to invade Ukraine. Smaller NATO countries on the alliance’s eastern flank worry they could be next, although Russia has said it has no intention of initiating conflict and is willing to continue diplomatic efforts.
Biden had said recently that he intended to provide additional U.S. forces to NATO allies in Eastern Europe as reassurance of an American commitment to treaty allies.
The Pentagon also has put about 8,500 U.S.-based troops on higher alert for possible deployment to Europe as additional reassurance to allies, and officials have indicated the possibility that additional units could be placed on higher alert soon. The U.S. already has between 75,000 and 80,000 troops in Europe as permanently stationed forces and as part of regular rotations in places such as Poland.
Washington and Moscow have been at loggerheads over Ukraine, with little sign of a diplomatic path forward. A Spanish newspaper on Wednesday reported that the United States could be willing to enter into an agreement with Russia to ease tensions over missile deployments in Europe if Moscow steps back from the brink in Ukraine.