President Biden is sending about 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, NC, to Poland and Germany this week, as well as sending part of an infantry Stryker squadron of roughly 1,000 troops based in Germany to Romania, a senior administration official said Wednesday, per the AP. The military moves come amid stalled talks with Russia over its military buildup at Ukraine's borders. They also underscore growing fears across Europe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to invade Ukraine, with smaller NATO countries on the eastern flank worrying they could be next. US officials tell CNN that the troops will be deployed in the "coming days" as a show of support to those NATO allies.
"At the president's direction and following Secretary [Lloyd] Austin's recommendation, the Department of Defense will reposition certain Europe-based units further east, forward deploy additional US-based units to Europe, and maintain the heightened state of readiness of response forces to meet these commitments," a senior administration official tells NBC News, adding that "these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are not permanent moves. They respond to current conditions."
Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have mounted in recent months, after Putin deployed more than 100,000 troops to areas near Ukraine's borders, including in neighboring Belarus, backed by tanks, artillery, helicopters, and warplanes. Russian officials have insisted that Moscow has no intention of invading. The US 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, according to a leaked document published in a Spanish newspaper on Wednesday. The daily El Pais published two documents purported to be written replies from the US and NATO last week to Russia's proposals for a new security arrangement in Europe.
The US document, marked as a confidential "non-paper," said that the US would be willing to discuss in consultation with its NATO partners "a transparency mechanism to confirm the absences of Tomahawk cruise missiles at Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland." That would happen on condition that Russia "offers reciprocal transparency measures on two ground-launched missiles bases of our choosing in Russia." Aegis Ashore is a system for defending against short- or intermediate-range missiles. In his first public remarks on the standoff in more than a month, Putin on Tuesday accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia's central security demands, but he said that Moscow is willing to talk more to ease tensions over Ukraine. (Read more US troops stories.)