By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – U.S. President Joe Biden decided Wednesday that thousands of additional U.S. troops would be sent to Eastern Europe amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion into Ukraine.
A senior U.S. security source told Worthy News the deployment is up to 10 times higher than officially announced.
The Biden administration said the president is deploying about 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland and Germany this week. Additionally, an “infantry Stryker squadron” of roughly 1,000 soldiers is sent from Germany to Romania.
However, the U.S. security source, a diplomat with close knowledge about the situation, told Worthy News the additional deployment could be at least 20,000-30,000. “Add a zero to the numbers being announced,” he said.
They arrive on top of thousands of U.S. troops already stationed in Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the source added.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details. He earlier predicted that troops would be sent “within days,” which was confirmed Wednesday.
In addition, Biden ordered a further 8,500 troops to be put on alert last month to deploy to Europe if needed.
Moscow has called the US deployment “destructive” and claims it has “no intention” to invade. Kyiv says, however, that it has deployed an estimated 127,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders.
The standoff comes eight years after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula and backed pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern Donbas region.
Moscow accuses the Ukrainian government of refusing to implement the Minsk peace agreement.
That international-backed deal aims to restore peace to the east where the Russian-backed rebels control swathes of territory, and at least 14,000 people have been killed since 2014.
As tensions rose, several Biden administration officials claimed that no U.S. combat forces would be deployed in Ukraine. However, the U.S. security source speaking to Worthy News said American military personnel is already in Ukraine, including from the Air Force and other special forces.
Ukraine already received “lethal aid,” according to White House officials. “It’s important that we send a strong signal to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and, frankly, to the world that NATO matters to the United States and it matters to our allies,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Russia wants Western security guarantees to de-escalate the crisis. Among its demands are that the NATO military alliance will not accept Ukraine as a member state and won’t expand further into Eastern Europe.
Washington has refused to obey, saying it is up to Ukraine to join NATO. However, Kirby confirmed that a US proposal “leaked to a European news outlet” was genuine.
He was referring to a story in Spain’s El País newspaper about a U.S. offer to Russia to talk about cutting down on nuclear weapons and trust-building measures in exchange for reducing tensions over Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukraine with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone on Wednesday.
Johnson told Putin, “all European democracies have a right to aspire to NATO membership,” a Downing Street statement said.
Putin mentioned Ukraine’s “chronic sabotage” of the Minsk peace agreements and NATO’s “reluctance to respond appropriately to Russia’s justified concerns,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin earlier accused the United States and its Western allies of trying to draw his country into a war in Ukraine.
He said America wanted to use a confrontation “as a pretext” to impose more sanctions on Russia.
NATO nations such as Hungary oppose more sanctions, and Budapest has also stalled Ukraine’s integration into NATO and the European Union.
Hungary is a member of both organizations.
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