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Russia-Ukraine Conflict: 8500 U.S. troops placed on ‘heightened alert’ causing Russia ‘great concern’

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Tensions between Russia and America escalated this week when U.S. President Joe Biden placed 8,500 troops on ‘heightened alert’ on Monday for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.

As Russian troops continue to mass on Ukraine’s border, the unmistakable gesture of intent by the United States is said to be causing Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘great concern.’ Per CNN, the order for the troops to be on standby for action was given by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin under the direction of Biden. 

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby announced on Monday that the 8,500 troops are intended to bolster the ranks of NATO’s quick-response force. Yet, he strictly emphasized that no final decision regarding their deployment has been made. Kirby explained, “The United States has taken steps to heighten the readiness of its forces at home and abroad, so they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies, including support to the NATO response force if it is activated.”

The NATO Response Force is reported to consist of about 40,000 multinational troops. Kirby further said, “We made it clear to the Eastern flank allies that we’re prepared to bolster their capabilities if they need it. In the event of NATO’s activation of the NRF or a deteriorating security environment, the United States would be in a position to rapidly deploy additional brigade combat teams, logistics, medical, aviation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, transportation, and additional capabilities into Europe.”

Fearing that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent, the U.S. State Department has also reduced staffing levels at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. The United States insists that the aim of sending military reinforcements into Eastern Europe would be to simply act as a deterrent and to support their allies. There has not yet been any suggestion that America would send troops to Ukraine to participate in combat roles.

Per NBC News, Moscow has amassed more than 100,000 troops at its neighbors’ border, and a diplomatic resolution is yet to be reached. NATO has already sent ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe, and the announcement by the United States of placing 8,500 troops on heightened alert is another stark warning to Putin that the rest of the world will not sit by idly if Russia invades Ukraine.

Per Business Standard, Russia is said to be greatly concerned about the latest development. Moreover, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused Washington of fueling tensions and warned that it is the United States and NATO who are driving the crisis, not Russia.

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