(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said Friday he would be sending American troops to Eastern Europe as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to weigh on the U.S. and its allies.
Biden, speaking to reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews upon returning from a trip to Pittsburgh, added that “not a lot” of soldiers would be involved “in the near term.”
He did not name any countries where troops might be deployed or elaborate further in brief comments.
Last week, the U.S. began shipping ammunition and other military supplies to Ukraine and has put 8,500 troops in the U.S. on heightened alert for possible dispatch to NATO countries in Eastern Europe. The president has ruled out moving U.S. or NATO armed forces into Ukraine itself.
Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the troops would be drawn from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg and at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell; and the 4th Infantry at Fort Carson, Colorado, among others.
“These units, all told, include medical support, aviation support, logistics support, and of course combat formations,” Kirby said. “These forces are on heightened preparedness to deploy. They have not been activated.”
He added that the U.S. would accelerate delivery of defensive weapons to Ukraine, without providing details on what he called both “lethal” and “non-lethal” assistance.
Separately, the U.S. and the European Union are zeroing in on a package of sanctions against Russia should President Vladimir Putin decide to invade Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter and documents seen by Bloomberg.
The measures would broadly fall into several categories including: restrictions on the refinancing of Russian sovereign debt, financial sanctions, and the singling out of individuals and entities close to the Kremlin.
Putin has said he has no plans to invade Ukraine.
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