US strike planes, F-35s and ground troops head to the Baltics amid Ukraine’s aggression

Another wave of US troops has been mobilized to assist Eastern European countries as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.

Joining the 6,000 troops already activated in Germany, Poland and Hungary, the Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that an array of fighter jets and ground troops will advance to the Baltics and Poland.

These include:

  • 800 soldiers from an infantry battalion task force based in Italy to the Baltic countries
  • Up to 8 Air Force F-35 fighters from Germany to the Baltics, as well as an unknown location on NATO’s southeastern flank
  • An assault aviation battalion with 20 AH-64 Apache helicopters, from Germany to the Baltics
  • An aviation task force strikes with 12 Apaches from Greece to Poland

“These additional personnel are being redeployed to reassure our NATO allies and deter any potential aggression against member states,” said a senior defense official. NATO members and train with the forces of the host country.

The announcement comes after President Joe Biden detailed new economic sanctions against Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send new military forces to areas controlled by the military. Separatist holdings in Ukraine.

“Who is Putin in the name of God to think that gives him the right to declare so-called new frontiers on the territory belonging to his neighbours?” Biden said. “This is a clear violation of international law and requires a resolute response from the international community.”

Biden said the United States “will continue to provide defensive support to Ukraine” as Russian forces advance, but reiterated that “we have no intention against Russia.”

However, he said that US military forces will continue to work with NATO allies on how to defuse the situation and secure their borders.

“We want to send an unmistakable message that the United States and our allies will defend every inch of NATO’s territory and live up to the commitments we have made to NATO,” he said. “We still believe that Russia is ready to go further in launching a major military offensive against Ukraine. I hope we were wrong about that.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday.

The multinational, 40,000 troops forces ready to respond to aggressive actions from Russia, along with thousands of American troops have been brought in Orders preparing to deploy shortened.

“So far, we have increased the readiness of the NATO Response Force, but we are not deployed,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.

Instead, individual countries have activated their own militaries on a special basis. That includes 5,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who went to Germany and Poland earlier this month, and another 1,000 were mobilized from Germany to Romania.

At the same time, Stoltenberg said, Germany has sent troops to Lithuania, the UK has doubled its troops in Estonia.

“And other allies – including Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and many others – have decided to send military ships and planes to reinforce our presence,” he added.

Leaders from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia met Vice President Kamala Harris in Munich on Friday, calling for more support for the Baltic countries.

“We welcome the decisions that have been made by the US administration to deploy additional forces in Europe. And we also hope that you increase your presence in the Baltic countries,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Friday.

And while visiting a small number of US troops deployed to Lithuania on Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declined to say whether he would consider sending more troops to the Baltic nation.

“I have no … announcement to make today regarding the military presence,” Austin told reporters during a news conference in Vilnius. “But as I said, I have said for a long time, we will continue to assess situations and consult with allies.”

Stoltenberg said the risk of an “all-out” attack on Ukraine remained high as Russian troops around the country appeared “out of the camps and in offensive positions”. That assessment extends the scope of a potential conflict beyond the Russian-backed separatist provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government recognized the regions’ links to Moscow on Monday, prompting outrage from the international community.

Shortly after Stoltenberg’s press conference on Tuesday, Russian news outlets began reporting that Putin’s declaration of independence would cover all of their respective provinces, parts still under Ukraine’s control, creating the prospect a war intensified along the lines of communication dividing the region. .

Meghann Myers is the director of the Pentagon office at Military Times. She covers operations, policies, personnel, leadership, and other issues that affect service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghanna_MT US strike planes, F-35s and ground troops head to the Baltics amid Ukraine’s aggression

Jake Nichol

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