U.S. Puts 8,500 Troops on High Alert Over Russia-Ukraine Tensions

The United States has placed as many as 8,500 troops on high alert for potential deployment to Eastern Europe amid the looming threat of possible Russian invasion to Ukraine.

At the direction of U.S. President Joe Biden, U.S. Defense Secretary Defense Lloyd Austin issued the prepare to deploy orders as Russia amassed 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border.

“The United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies, or partners,” Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said at a press conference on Jan. 24.

Kirby said that the troops placed on heightened alert were intended to bolster the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) rapid-reaction force, which “comprises around 40,000 multinational troops.”

However, Kirby also added that the U.S. troops would be “postured to be ready for any other contingencies as well.”

“This is really about reassuring the Eastern flank of NATO,” Kirby said.

As of Jan. 24 afternoon, no final decision had yet been made to deploy the troops, Kirby said.

Kirby also would not say where the U.S. troops might deploy, though he said there were no plans to deploy to Ukraine itself.

The announcement comes as Biden held a scheduled call with European leaders to discuss their response to Russia’s military buildup.

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