Joe Biden set to deploy US troops in 'nearer term' as deterrent against Ukraine invasion

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Biden - AP
Biden - AP

Joe Biden is preparing to deploy extra US troops to eastern Europe "in the nearer term" in a bid to deter Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine

The US president also threatened to personally target Mr Putin directly with sanctions if he does order an invasion.

Mr Biden has already placed 8,500 US troops on "high alert" to be deployed to Nato's eastern flank.

Asked what would trigger a decision to send them, Mr Biden said: "What would lead to that is what's going to happen, what Putin does or doesn't do.

"And I may be moving some of those troops in the nearer term, just because it takes time. And again, it's not provocative. "

He said the move would be to "reassure" Nato allies in eastern Europe.

Mr Biden said: "In eastern Europe there's reason for concern. Everyone from Poland on has reason to be concerned about what would happen and what spillover effects could occur."

But Mr Biden added that he had "no intention of putting American forces or Nato forces in Ukraine."

He said the 8,500 US troops were "part of a Nato operation not a sole US operation."

He added: "I made it clear to President Putin, we have a sacred obligation to our Nato allies, and that if he continues to build and/or was to move, we would be reinforcing those troops.

"I spoke with every one of our Nato allies. We're all on the same page."

Asked if an invasion could lead to US sanctions against Mr Putin himself, the US president said: "Yes. I would see that."

Putin - AFP
Putin - AFP

Mr Biden said: "There will be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade, as he could, the entire country, or a lot less than that as well. There would be enormous consequences worldwide

"If he were to move in with all his forces it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world."

The US president said "it all comes down to his [Mr Putin's] decision" and predicting that was a "little bit like reading tea leaves."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the number of US troops on "heightened alert" may increase in the coming days.

He also said the US may start "moving around" troops that are already "on the ground" in Europe.

Mr Kirby said: "I certainly would not rule out the possibility that we could be putting additional forces on heightened alert in the coming days and weeks.

"And maybe even moving troops around Europe that are already there to bolster and to reassure some of our allies on the ground, on the continent.

"So, I would not rule out the possibility that we could be talking about larger numbers in future days and weeks."

It came as Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US Senate, praised Mr Biden for acting to deter Russia.

Mr McConnell said the US president had initially shown "passivity and weakness."

But he said: "What I've been hearing since then is encouraging, that they're prepared to take steps before an incursion, not afterwards.

"It appears to me the administration is moving in the right direction."

Meanwhile, the US said it was talking to energy suppliers around the world to supply Europe through the winter amid fears Russia could "weaponise" fuel supplies by cutting them off.

The EU depends on Russia for around one third of its gas supplies.

The US said it was talking to countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Ongoing discussions involved the "capacity and willingness" of the unnamed countries to "temporarily surge natural gas output" to Europe.

A senior US administration official said: "We expect to be prepared to ensure alternative supplies covering a significant majority of the potential shortfall.

"If Russia decides to weaponise its supply of natural gas or crude oil it wouldn’t be without consequences to the Russian economy.

"Remember, this is a one-dimensional economy, and that means it needs oil and gas revenues at least as much as Europe needs its energy supply.”

"This is not an asymmetric advantage for Putin, it's an inter-dependency."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting