Biden plans to deploy thousands of troops to Eastern Europe and the Baltics

The talks came as the State Department ordered all family members of US embassy staff in Kyiv to leave Ukraine, citing the threat of Russian military action, and cleared some Embassy employees are also leaving, according to senior State Department officials who briefed reporters on Sunday. . The officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, declined to say how many embassy staff and their family members were in the country. . Reducing US embassy staff is a common precaution in the event of conflicts or other crises that could put US diplomats at risk.

At his press conference last week, Mr Biden said he had warned Mr Putin that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would prompt Washington to send more troops to the region.

“We’re actually going to increase the troop presence in Poland, Romania, etc., if he actually moves,” Biden said. “They are part of NATO.”

In a phone call this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III warned his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu, that a Russian incursion into Ukraine would most likely result in the exact troop buildup Mr. Biden envisions. currently.

At the time of the phone call — Jan. 6 — the Biden administration was still trying to be more moderate in its stance on Ukraine. But after fruitless talks between Mr. Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov on Friday, the administration is considering a tougher posture, including not just diplomatic options like sanctions, but military options like the increased military support for Ukrainian forces and deployment of US troops in the region.

“It’s clearly in response to the sudden stationing of Russian forces in Belarus, on the border, essentially, with NATO,” said Evelyn Farkas, the Pentagon’s top Russia and Ukraine official under the administration. Barack Obama. “It is impossible that NATO cannot respond to such a sudden military move in this political context. The Kremlin must understand that it is only making the situation worse with all these deployments and increasing the danger for all parties, including themselves.

A former senior Pentagon official for Europe and NATO policy, Jim Townsend, said the administration’s proposal did not go far enough.

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