The United States has deployed another batch of air troops to Ukraine to assist in defensive measures against Russia, amid the growing fears of an invasion.
President Joe Biden, in a press conference at the White House on Tuesday, said the nation will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, and has authorised additional movements to strengthen its Baltic allies, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
The forces will include an infantry battalion task force of around 800 personnel from Italy, according to a senior defence official in a meeting with reporters late on Tuesday.
The task force will send up to eight F-35 fighter jets sent from Germany to several NATO eastern flank locations, a battalion of 20 AH-64 Apache helicopters to the Baltic region and 12 Apache helicopters from Greece to Poland.
“Let me be clear: These are totally defensive moves on our part,” said President Biden.
“We have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the United States, together with our allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO.”
NATO is a defensive alliance across 30 countries, including 27 from Europe, two North American countries and one Eurasian country.
The latest installment of fighter jets come only two weeks after about 6,000 troops were deployed from the US from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to several countries near Ukraine’s borders.
It included multiple US fighter jets stationed elsewhere, such as squadrons from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, B-52 Bombers and RAF Lakenheath in England.
Russia’s President Vladmir Putin on Tuesday retaliated and ordered troops to infiltrate several rebel-held territories in Ukraine for “peacekeeping functions”.
Despite this, many governments have accused this as nonsense, claiming Putin is creating a scapegoat before starting a war.
The troop deployment from across the globe comes as Putin has long resisted Ukraine’s ties with European institutions, including NATO and the EU, and has claimed the nation was not a real state.
Since 2014, when Russia first invaded the country and infiltrated regions with rebels, their relations have continued to dwindle, and the war has claimed over 14,000 lives so far.
Amid the rising tensions, several countries have begun imposing sanctions on Russia.
On Tuesday, President Biden announced the first tranche of sanctions, including blocking two large Russian financial institutions: VEB and their military bank.
The President also cut Western financing for Russia.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also imposed sanctions late Tuesday against five banks and three Russian personnel.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a press conference in Washington that Putin can be stopped if the nation and its allies “act in a very reserved way and keep mounting pressure”.
“We have two plans. Plan A is to utilise every tool of diplomacy to deter Russia and prevent further escalation. And if that fails, Plan B is to fight for every inch of our land, and every city and every village. Then, to fight until we win, of course.”