Not only troops, but also additional equipment are being pulled into the border areas, a representative of the U.S. Department of Defense said.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin continues to send additional military units to the Ukrainian border, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference.
American and European leaders still do not know whether Putin will decide on a new invasion of Ukraine, and Kirby called on the Russian leader to ease tensions by withdrawing troops on Russian territory, as well as troops that are in Belarus – also near the border with Ukraine.
The Pentagon spokesman noted that the deployment of Russian troops numbering more than 100,000 people is not directed directly against NATO members on the eastern flank of the alliance.
However, it’s not just the number of troops, but also the military assets that are being transferred to the region, he pointed out.
“Right now we cannot say with certainty whether Putin has made a final decision in one form or another, and if he has, what it is,” Kirby said. “But every day he expands his capabilities from a military point of view.”
Russia is building up a “solid” combined arms potential.
“This means not only infantry or tracked vehicles, but also artillery and long–range fire, anti-aircraft and missile defense, as well as special operations forces,” Kirby said. –He has a complete set at his disposal, and he continues to grow every day, including over the past two days.”
The U.S. responds by deploying its own troops.
Kirby said that the transfer of a squadron equipped with 1,000 Stryker armored vehicles to Romania has been completed, as has the transfer of the headquarters of the 18th Airborne Corps to Germany.
“Several hundred” soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division have been transferred to Poland from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. About 1,700 troops will be deployed to Poland in the coming days.
American troops are arriving on the ground and settling in, Kirby said.
“I think after that you will see that they are conducting exercises with their partners in Romania and Poland,” he said.
At the same time, Kirby noted that despite all the Russian deployments near the borders of Ukraine, there is still time and space for diplomatic work.
“We still believe that there is a diplomatic path, and it can and should be followed,” he said. “Putin can easily reduce tensions by simply removing part of this forceful presence, which is certainly in his power.”