President Joe Biden said Friday evening that he would be sending U.S. troops to NATO countries in Eastern Europe "in the near term."
The decision is seen as a challenge to Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin, who has amassed more than a hundred thousand troops on the border with Ukraine.
Biden made the comments to reporters at Joint Base Andrews after returning from Pittsburgh where he gave a speech on infrastructure spending.
“I’ll be moving troops to Eastern Europe in the NATO countries in the near term,” said Biden. “Not too many.”
Numerous countries have made statements in support of Ukraine and have pledged to help defend the country if Russia invades. Moscow has denied any plans involving an attack on the former Soviet satellite country.
Biden has twice made statements that appeared to accept the possibility of an eminent invasion, but the White House has twice walked the statements back. Ukrainian officials have called on the U.S. president to stop creating panic about the tense situation.
He has also promised that Russia would face damaging economic sanctions if Putin follows through with a military attack.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley pressed for a diplomatic solution in a media briefing Friday and said that a Russian invasion would incur "horrific" costs.
“Given the type of forces that are arrayed, the ground maneuver forces, the artillery, the ballistic missiles, the air forces, all of it packaged together. If that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant, and it would result in a significant amount of casualties,” Milley explained.
But he said the U.S. was ready to defend its NATO ally.
"We are ready, capable and prepared to uphold our obligation under treaty to NATO," Milley said. "An attack against one NATO ally is an attack against all."
The Pentagon has placed about 8,500 troops on high alert in anticipation of deployment to Eastern Europe.
Here's more about the escalation of hostilities:
Biden to move U.S. troops into Eastern Europe www.youtube.com
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