Democrat President Joe Biden is considering deploying U.S. forces to Eastern Europe as Russia is reportedly preparing to invade Ukraine at any moment.
Biden is considering the deployment of “several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading.”
The report said that senior military officials told Biden that he could deploy up to 5,000 U.S. troops to the region with the ability to ramp that number up “tenfold if things deteriorate.” Biden is expected to make a decision as early as this week about what course of action he will take.
“After years of tiptoeing around the question of how much military support to provide to Ukraine, for fear of provoking Russia, Biden officials have recently warned that the United States could throw its weight behind a Ukrainian insurgency should [Russian President Vladimir] Putin invade Ukraine,” the report added. “And the deployment of thousands of additional American troops to NATO’s eastern flank, which includes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Biden administration officials said, is exactly the scenario that Mr. Putin has wanted to avoid, as he has seen the western military alliance creep closer and closer to Russia’s own border.”
The State Department ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to immediately leave the country amid deteriorating conditions.
“The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv,” the department said. “Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, warned on Sunday that Russia would invade Ukraine unless Biden took immediate action, including enacting sanctions against Russia before any such invasion takes place.
“We need joint exercises in Poland, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria to show Putin that we’re serious. Right now,” he said. “[Russian President Vladimir Putin] doesn’t see we’re serious and that’s why the buildup is taking place. I think this all started with Afghanistan and the unconditional surrender to the Taliban when he saw weakness; weakness invites aggression. We saw that with Chamberlain and Hitler. You know, Reagan talked about peace through strength.”
Former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Putin was becoming increasingly aggressive because he views Biden as weak and not credible.
When asked if the situation with Russia amassing troops near Ukraine could be brought back from the brink, Pompeo said, “it’s awful late.”
“The real hard work of deterrence would have happened a long time ago, a year ago, when President Putin demanded that we give him a new START treaty extension, we gave it to him for nothing,” he said. “When they had Russian cyberattacks and they shut down the Colonial Pipeline, we told them you can only attack certain sectors, but 16 are off-limits. When we left Afghanistan in the way we did — those were the places where the administration had a chance to establish deterrence.”
“Putin saw this and so these tactical things today about whether our families will stay in Ukraine, we’ve got to [do] the right thing and take care of our families,” he continued. “But these tactical things aren’t what causes Vladimir Putin to recalculate his cost-benefit analysis. I think they don’t see President Biden as credible. I think they see all this talking, these pieces of paper being exchanged just not credible.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.