Wednesday, May 18, 2022

NATO sends reinforcements to Eastern Europe, US puts 8,500 troops on alert as Russia nearly encircles Ukraine

Tensions are high around Ukraine with armies from the north, east and south after Russia mobilized an estimated 100,000 troops to reach its neighbour’s border.

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MOSCOW/BRUSSELS – NATO said on Monday it is adding additional forces to and fortifying Eastern Europe with additional ships and fighter jets, in response to Russia building up troops along the Ukraine border as Western “hysteria” condemned.


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The US Defense Department in Washington said about 8,500 US troops were placed on high alert and awaiting orders to deploy to the region if Russia invades Ukraine.

Tensions are high after Russia along with armies from the north, east and south reached its neighbor’s border around Ukraine, an estimated 100,000 troops.

Russia denies an invasion plan and Moscow is citing the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of the invasion.

President Joe Biden, emphasizing transatlantic unity, held a secure 80-minute video call with several European leaders on Monday from the White House Situation Room to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

“I had a very, very, very good meeting with Europeans,” Biden told reporters, which included leaders from Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Poland. He said there was “absolute unanimity”.


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A White House statement said the leaders “discussed their joint efforts to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine, including imposing heavy consequences and serious economic costs on Russia for such actions, as well as NATO Preparing to strengthen security on the eastern side of the

Welcoming a series of deployments announced by coalition members in recent days, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously said NATO would take “all necessary measures”.

“We will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment, including by strengthening our collective defence,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.


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He told a news conference that the increased presence in the eastern side of NATO could also include the deployment of war groups in the southeast of the coalition.

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As of now, NATO has about 4,000 troops in multinational battalions in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, supported by tank, air defense and intelligence and surveillance units.

US officials said the Pentagon was finalizing efforts to identify specific units it could deploy to NATO’s eastern flank.

One of the officials said up to 5,000 could be deployed, while a NATO diplomat said Washington was considering gradually moving some of the troops stationed in Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks.

NATO said Denmark, Spain, France and the Netherlands were all planning or considering sending troops, planes or ships to Eastern Europe. Ukraine shares borders with four NATO countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.


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A Polish official said Warsaw would draw the line to send troops to Ukraine.

As tensions rise, Britain said it was withdrawing some staff and dependents from its embassy in Ukraine, a day after the United States said it was ordering diplomats’ family members to leave. American diplomats are being allowed to leave voluntarily.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused West of “hysteria” and called the information “full of lies”.

“For specific actions, we see statements by the North Atlantic Coalition about reinforcements, pulling forces and resources to the East Coast. All this leads to the fact that tensions are rising, ”he said.

“It’s not happening because of what Russia is doing. It’s all because of what NATO and America are doing and the information they are spreading.”


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Global stock markets rejected demand for riskier assets like bitcoin and strengthened the dollar and oil due to the prospect of a Russian attack. The ruble fell to a 14-month low against the dollar and Russian stocks and bonds fell.

Russia has used its military contingent to sway the West after demanding a redrawing of Europe’s security map. It wants NATO to never accept Ukraine and withdraw troops and weapons from former communist countries in Eastern Europe that joined it after the Cold War.

Washington says those demands have not begun but is open to discussing other ideas on arms control, missile deployment and confidence building measures.

Russia awaits a written response from the US this week after talks last Friday – in its fourth round this month – yielded no success.


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Asked whether he thought an invasion was imminent, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told broadcasters that intelligence was “very depressed at this point”, but that “understanding may still prevail.”

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He reiterated Western warnings that an attack on Ukraine would be “a painful, violent and bloody business” for Russia.

The United States and the European Union, wary of Russia’s intentions since it seized Crimea and backed separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, have told Russia to attack it again. Will face severe punishment.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels warned Russia that it would face “massive” consequences, but are divided on how hard it should be on Moscow and did not say what the consequences could be.


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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told EU President Charles Michel, who was also on the call with Biden, that it was important for Kiev that the EU showed unity.

“Ukraine will not succumb to provocation and will remain calm and restrained with its allies,” his office said.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, proposed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.36 billion) financial aid package to help Ukraine mitigate the effects of the conflict.

A Russian delegation source said political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will meet in Paris on Wednesday to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has killed nearly 15,000 people since 2014. Previous attempts have failed to achieve any success. ,



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