No US or NATO combat troops to be sent to Ukraine – Stoltenberg
NATO will not deploy NATO combat troops in Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told U.S. television news channel CNN on Jan. 25.
However, Stoltenberg said NATO would continue to provide support to Ukraine, help it modernize its defense institutions, and build up its defensive capacities. Some NATO allies will also send trainers and defensive military equipment, he added.
The NATO Secretary-General noted that NATO needed to make sure “there was no misunderstanding about NATO readiness and commitment to protect and defend all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance,” and that “strong deterrence” was the best way to prevent an escalation of the Russian-precipitated conflict in Ukraine.
At a press briefing on Jan. 25, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said U.S. President Joe Biden had “no intention” of sending U.S. troops to Ukraine. Psaki said NATO would focus on supporting partners and allies on the eastern flank of the alliance, adding that a possible decision on the deployment of 8,500 U.S. troops in Eastern European NATO member states would be taken jointly with NATO partners and allies.
Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders. Russia has since deployed more than 127,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine provided to CNN this week.
The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of Russia.
At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.
Russian troops have also been deployed to Belarus, as part of previously unscheduled military exercises. However, Russian equipment has been spotted along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, far from the area announced as the site of the exercises.
The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and European officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.
Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”
Proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.
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