Ukraine conflict: 8,500 US soldiers on alert

Status: 01/24/2022 10:15 p.m

NATO countries are preparing for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US is considering moving up to 8,500 troops to Eastern Europe. At the same time, diplomatic efforts continue.

Because of the Ukraine crisis, the US government has put about 8,500 soldiers in the United States on increased readiness, according to the Department of Defense. Ministry spokesman John Kirby stressed, however, that a decision on moving these troops to Europe had not yet been made.

The relevant units had been put on increased readiness on the instructions of US President Joe Biden and on the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

“As such, they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies, including supporting the NATO Response Force should it activate,” Kirby said. NATO decides whether to activate this “NATO Response Force” (NRF). In connection with the increased readiness, Kirby spoke of “reinsurance for our NATO allies”.

Western countries fear that Russian troops will invade Ukraine. Moscow denies that there are such plans. The New York Times reported that Biden was considering relocating warships and planes to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe and sending several thousand US soldiers. The United States has tens of thousands of soldiers stationed in Europe, even outside of times of crisis.

Michael Grytz, ARD Brussels, on the announcement to strengthen NATO military operations in Eastern Europe

Tagesschau 5:00 p.m., 24.1.2022

Biden coordinates with allies

A high-level video conference is planned for Monday evening, in which the United States and its allies want to coordinate how to proceed. In addition to US President Joe Biden, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Polish President Andrzej Duda, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel will attend.

Talks are also to be continued with Russia, for example in the so-called Normandy format. Representatives of Russia and Ukraine apparently want to meet for talks in Paris on Wednesday. A meeting at the advisory level is to take place with France and Germany, according to sources in the French Presidential Office. In terms of content, it should be about negotiating humanitarian measures and setting a date on which Ukraine and separatists will discuss a law on the status of Donbass.

NATO increases military presence in East

A number of NATO member states had previously announced plans to increase their military presence in Eastern Europe. The alliance said it was increasing its “deterrent” presence in the Baltic Sea region. According to this, additional combat aircraft and naval ships are to be sent to the Baltic Sea and to Eastern European countries such as Lithuania and Bulgaria. Allies such as Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands are increasing their military presence in Eastern Europe, while the US and France are considering doing so.

Russia accused the USA and NATO of a dangerous escalation course. The origin of the tensions is not Russia, but the US and NATO’s “information campaign” and “hysteria,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in view of the West’s arms deliveries to Ukraine and the withdrawal of Western embassy staff in Kiev.

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