Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III will journey to Belgium, Poland and Lithuania this week to debate Russia’s army buildup round Ukraine with leaders in every nation, the Pentagon introduced on Monday.
Mr. Austin will leave on Tuesday for Brussels, the place he’ll seek the advice of with NATO leaders, earlier than touring to Poland to go to American troops and to Lithuania to satisfy with Baltic leaders, mentioned John F. Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman.
Russian reinforcements proceed to circulate in with no proof that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is veering away from army motion in Ukraine, Mr. Kirby instructed reporters on the Pentagon. “He’s doing all of the stuff you would anticipate him to do to verify he’s prepared for that possibility or choices,” Mr. Kirby mentioned.
Mr. Kirby dismissed Russian assertions that the buildup of some 130,000 troops was merely seasonal land and naval drills. “It strains credulity to suppose that they might have this many troops arrayed alongside the border with Ukraine and in Belarus merely for winter workouts,” he mentioned.
The Pentagon on Friday ordered 3,000 extra troops to Poland, bringing to five,000 the variety of reinforcements despatched to Europe up to now two weeks.
The aim of the troops, practically all from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., might be to reassure NATO allies that whereas america doesn’t intend to ship troops into Ukraine, President Biden would defend America’s NATO allies from any Russian aggression. Poland borders Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, an in depth ally of Russia.