Pentagon to deploy 3000 reserve troops in Europe


Pentagon officials said the move would not increase the overall level of US troops in Europe, which now stands at about 80,000…reports Asian Lite News

President Biden on Thursday authorized the Pentagon to mobilize up to 3,000 military reservists for duty in Europe, signaling the toll that ongoing efforts to deter Russia and reassure NATO allies is taking on a force deployed across the continent since war erupted in Ukraine early last year.

It was not immediately clear when the Defense Department will send additional reservists to Europe under the new authority, which Biden announced Thursday in a statement.

Pentagon officials said the move would not increase the overall level of U.S. troops in Europe, which now stands at about 80,000, but would potentially alter its makeup by allowing commanders to deploy additional reservists. Units that will be deployed had not yet been identified, the officials said.

Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, a senior official on the military’s Joint Staff, told reporters in a briefing that “these authorities will enable the department to better support and sustain” the enhanced American presence overseas.

Capt. Bill Speaks, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, said in a statement that the command was preparing to use the new authorities to “ensure long-term resilience in USEUCOM’s continued heightened level of presence and operations.”

The move comes as the United States expands its security aid to Ukraine, which has totaled more than $41 billion with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, to include cluster munitions and other weaponry. Despite the massive support already provided to Ukraine, the Biden administration is facing pressure to send additional equipment including fighter jets and longer-range missiles to help Ukrainian forces claw back territory in an ongoing counteroffensive.

The administration is also designating Atlantic Resolve, an operation that has enhanced the U.S. troop posture in Europe in response to the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, as a contingency operation. Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said that move would give activated reservists the same benefits as active-duty troops and accelerate contracting.

“You’re now able to call on [National] Guard or reserve forces to come support Atlantic Resolve and … be entitled to the same kind of benefits as their active-duty counterparts,” Ryder said.

Sims also said that American cluster munitions, which the White House agreed to provide to Ukraine last week following a lengthy internal debate, had already arrived in the war-torn country. Some lawmakers and observers have decried the decision, which they said could endanger civilians.

The U.S. rushed 20,000 more troops to Europe after Russia’s invasion, bringing the total to over 100,000 on the continent. That includes new rotations of 10,000 troops in Poland, which has emerged as a critical hub for supporting and supplying Ukraine.

The potential callups come on the heels of the NATO summit in Lithuania this week, where allies pledged to make 300,000 troops ready for rapid deployment within 30 days or less. It’s a tall order for the 31-member alliance whose individual members struggle with equipment and troop readiness after decades of skimping on military funding.

The news also comes as Ukraine continues to hammer away at Russia’s main defensive lines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Although senior Pentagon officials express hope that Kyiv’s forces will recapture more significant territory soon, they say progress has been slower than hoped.

New American cluster bombs have arrived in Ukraine, after the Pentagon announced the controversial decision to send them last week, Sims said on Thursday. Officials say they believe the new weapons will prove more effective on the battlefield against dug-in Russian positions and concentrations of troops and armored vehicles.

Meanwhile, expressing hope that Ukraine’s counter-offensive would force Russia to the negotiating table, Biden said Vladimir Putin has already lost the war with the neighbour country

“Putin’s already lost the war. Putin has a real problem,” AFP reported quoting Biden as saying at a press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. “There is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine,” Biden added.

The President said there was no real prospect of Putin using nuclear weapons and insisted the war would not drag on for years.

Though the NATO leaders could not give Kyiv a timeline for the group’s membership at the Finland summit this week, but Biden, other members pledged that Ukraine would one day join the alliance

NATO leaders had dashed Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky’s hopes for a clear timeline to join the military alliance, saying at this week’s summit in Vilnius that they would offer an invite only when “conditions are met”.

But while Biden said no country could become a NATO member while it was at war — with Ukraine joining now meaning a “third world war” — he vowed Kyiv would one day join the club.

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