New bases and additional numbers are also possible in a show of strength against Russia, reports CNN
The United States plans to retain 100,000 troops in Eastern Europe for the foreseeable future, which could potentially even increase the number if they experience a threat from Russia against NATO or its two new members, Sweden and Finland, several officials told CNN on Friday.
If NATO conducts more military exercises in the area or “safety environment“changes, the United States could bring in more troops or even build more military bases in the region,” officials said. next month. Leaders of NATO countries will then meet in Madrid at the end of June.
While Sweden and Finland have applied to join NATO, the United States has not chosen to engage additional troops for their defense, although all arms movements from Russia – which have promised to respond to both countries’ accession to the transatlantic alliance – could lead to further deployments. . However, some NATO countries have agreed to provide support outside the bloc’s official structure while their applications are being processed.
The United States increased its numbers of troops in Europe to 100,000 in March, the first time they had stationed so many on the continent since 2005. The United States’ European Command, EUCOM, specifically blamed “Russian aggression“for the increased deployment. The majority of the troops are stationed in Poland and Germany, followed by Italy and the United Kingdom. The Baltic states have called for an even greater troop presence in the region as the conflict in Ukraine continues.
Prior to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the United States had about 60,000 troops stationed in Europe. Although there are officially no US troops in Ukraine, Washington has sent billions of dollars in military aid to Kyiv.
READ MORE: Russia warns of growing threats to its security
Russia attacked its neighbor at the end of February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s final recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-mediated protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims that it planned to retake the two republics by force.