In response to the escalating Ukraine crisis, the US government has put the approximately 8,500 US troops in the United States on increased readiness. “This is a clear signal to Mr. Putin that we take our NATO responsibility very seriously,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kirby stressed that the decision to transfer these forces to Europe has not yet been taken.
Kirby said related units have been placed on increased readiness at the direction of President Joe Bidens and on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. As such, they are prepared to respond to a range of contingencies, including supporting the NATO Response Force should it be activated.” The Alliance decides whether to activate the NATO Response Force (NRF). It is very clear that the Russians are not They have the intent to de-escalate at the moment.” Instead, Moscow is bolstering its forces near Ukraine.
In light of the massive deployment of Russian forces near Ukraine, there are fears in the West that the Kremlin may be plotting an invasion of the neighboring country – something Moscow denies. It is also possible that fears will be fueled only in order to persuade NATO countries to make concessions when demanding new security guarantees.
The United States in military control
According to the United States, they are refining their military plans. The government in Washington said the goal was to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Government spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized that the United States “never ruled out the option of supporting countries on the eastern side” prior to the invasion.
Biden consults with Schultz and other allies
On Monday evening, US President Biden spoke to allies in Europe about the Ukraine crisis. Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) also participated in the video conference. The United States and many European countries have warned Russia of the dire consequences of the attack on Ukraine. “They agreed that any further Russian aggression against Ukraine would have very serious consequences,” government spokesman Stephen Hebestreet said after the video call with the presidents of France and Poland, the British prime minister and the Italian prime minister. The President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council and the Secretary General of NATO were also contacted. All participants expressed their deep concern about the “massive movements of Russian forces and the tensions caused by Russia”.
They all agree that it is up to Russia to take clear steps toward de-escalation. Security and stability issues in Europe must be resolved through negotiations. Corresponding diplomatic efforts must continue.
Schultz said in Berlin that the conversation was a “good sign of close cooperation” between allies in the conflict. “The situation is serious, but not just today, but for several days, weeks and months.” This is why it is important to act as one. This includes insisting that borders are not violated in Europe. “We will not accept that any (…) have high costs,” Schulz stressed.
Elysee attends meetings in Normandy form
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict will continue throughout the week in the so-called Normandy format. A meeting between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia is scheduled for Wednesday at the level of political advisors, according to the Elysee Palace in Paris. French Head of State Emmanuel Macron will propose to his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin a “way to de-escalate” the Ukraine crisis at a meeting in the next few days.
The last summit meeting was held in Normandy format in 2019. Against the background of the current massive deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, European calls for renewing these talks are once again louder. However, critics question the suitability of the format for a lasting settlement of the conflict and argue that greater US involvement in talks with Russia is necessary.
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