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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says Russian troops are “in an advanced state of readiness” as the Kremlin has indicated that rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine have asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression.”
Watch Kirby’s remarks in the player above.
Fears of an imminent Russian offensive against its neighbor soared after President Vladimir Putin received authorization to use military force outside his country, and the West responded with sanctions.
Ukraine has declared a nationwide state of emergency amid growing fears of an all-out invasion by Russian troops.
“What we see is that Russian forces continue to assemble closer to the border and and put themselves in an advanced stage of readiness to act, to conduct military action in Ukraine,” Kirby said.
“We believe that they are ready,” he said.
Kirby also spelled out the movement of U.S. troops already stationed in Europe at the director of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“These forces, comprised of aviation element and some ground forces, will move within inside the European area of operations to NATO’s north, eastern and southeastern flanks in the coming days, and we expect them to be in place later this week.”
Kirby said the move is temporary and involves approximately 800 U.S. troops, as well as planes and helicopters.
Finally, Kirby said that the Defense Department has approved the use of approximately 700 National Guardsmen from Washington, DC and neighboring states, along with 50 vehicles.
The Pentagon says the personnel and vehicles will be used for traffic enforcement to deal with a possible truck convey protest in the area that’s related to COVID-19 government mandates.
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