NATO’s top military commander in Europe, drafting countermoves to the Russian military threat against Ukraine, said Wednesday they could include deployment of American troops to alliance member states in Eastern Europe now feeling at risk.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told The Associated Press he wouldn’t “write off involvement by any nation, to include the United States.”
Foreign ministers of the 28-nation alliance have given Breedlove until Tuesday to propose steps to reassure NATO members nearest Russia that other alliance countries have their back.
“Essentially what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies,” Breedlove told the AP. “I’m tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early.”
Asked again if American soldiers might be sent to NATO’s front-line states closest to Russia, the four-star U.S. general said, “I would not write off contributions from any nation. . . .”
[T]he general’s staff provided the AP with a set of commercial satellite photographs they said showed Russian warplanes, combat helicopters, armor, artillery and a probable airborne or special forces brigade deployed in locations east of the Ukraine-Russian border, including along the coastline of the Sea of Azov. . . .
“What we see there is a force of about 40,000,” Breedlove said. “I would characterize it as a combined arms army. In other words, this is an army that has all of the provisioning and enablers that it needs to accomplish military objectives if given them. . . .”
However the Russian contingent might ultimately be used, it’s “ready to go essentially at command. We talk about inside of 12 hours,” Breedlove said.