As a result of continuously escalating tensions in Ukraine, the US has sent troops to East Europe. These soldiers come at a time of renewed tensions in the region as Kiev has announced a restart of anti-terrorist operations while Russia threats military action in the country.
American forces amounting to about 600 troops are said to be en route to Eastern Europe. Poland has already received 150 of those troops. On top of that, forces will be heading to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia by Monday.
These troops are said to be preforming military exercises. On top of that, analysts believe that these troops are poised to send a strong message to Russia. The contingents will be serving in the area on a rotating basis that officials claim will extend to the end of the year at least, with routine military exercises lasting for a month.
American officials claim that these troops are being sent to bolster NATO’s presence in the region. The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, claimed that this most recent development is a “tangible representation of our commitment to our security obligations in Europe.”
Kirby went on to address that this should also demonstrate that same commitment to Russia, and that the United States takes these obligations “very, very seriously on the continent of Europe.” It is likely that these troops are also there to calm the nerves of NATO allies such as Poland who have been concerned that Russia will compromise their sovereignty, much like the West claims that Russia is doing to Ukraine.
The announcement of additional US troops being sent to East Europe comes at a time of even more significant tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The government in Kiev has announced that, contrary to how Russia threatens that any violent conduct will bring military intervention, Ukrainian forces will be preforming counter-terrorist operations that will be targeting pro-Russian militants in the country’s South-East.
After a brief stoppage over Easter, Ukraine’s forces are reportedly back at work trying to get rid of the pro-Russian militants and protestors who have taken control of much of the country’s South-East. According to Kiev and the West, the unrest has been a direct result of coordinated Russian intervention. Although Moscow denies these charges, Russian soldiers have been reportedly seen in pictures taken in and released by Ukraine.
For Russia’s part, officials continue to threaten military intervention in the region. Claiming to be interested in the well being of Russian speakers in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have both openly stated that the military option is on the table if Ukraine acts militarily against the unrest. Russia has some 40,000 troops on the border which some analysts believe are poised to invade.
US Troops Sent to East Europe are unlikely to get involved within Ukraine’s borders as it stands. As well, despite the fact that Russia threatens military action in Ukraine, many officials in the West and Russia still claim to be interested in a diplomatic solution. However, as events transpire, that coveted solution may become increasingly difficult to peruse.
By Brett Byers-Lane
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