NEW YORK - US President Joe Biden considers deploying thousands of troops, warships and aircraft to NATO allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, according to administration officials. The New York Times reported on Sunday.
This would be a major shift from the US restrained stance on Ukraine.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin has ramped up his threatening actions toward Ukraine, and talks between American and Russian officials have failed to discourage him, the administration is now moving away from its do-not-provoke strategy.
In a meeting on Saturday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, senior Pentagon officials presented Biden with several options that would shift American military assets much closer to Putin’s doorstep, the administration officials said. The options include sending 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries, with the potential to increase that number tenfold if things deteriorate.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about internal deliberations.
Biden is expected to make a decision as early as this week, they said.
He is weighing the buildup as Russia has escalated its menacing posture against Ukraine, including massing more than 100,000 troops and weaponry on the border and stationing Russian forces in Belarus. On Saturday, Britain accused Moscow of developing plans to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.
In his news conference last week, Biden said he had cautioned Putin that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would prompt Washington to send more troops to the region. “We’re going to actually increase troop presence in Poland, in Romania, et cetera, if in fact he moves,” Mr. Biden said. “They are part of NATO”