The Pentagon’s move comes as tensions have boiled over between Russia and the West over invasion concerns, with NATO outlining potential troop and ship deployments. Russia has denied it is planning an assault, but it has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks, leading the United States and its NATO allies to rush to prepare for a possible war.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the U.S.-based troops that are being put on alert for possible deployment — not to Ukraine but to NATO territory in Eastern Europe as part of an alliance force meant to signal a unified commitment to deter any wider Putin aggression.
But how much does the United States spend on maintaining troops in Europe, and how many are already there?
In the last year alone, the United States spent $4.5 billion maintaining its European bases and assisting with operations in Ukraine.
The largest American base in Europe is located in Germany, where personnel has maintained a presence since the end of World War II. The second-largest American base is in Italy where over 12,000 troops are stationed. Additional troops are in Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Ukraine’s neighbor Poland.
If the troops are moved they would be placed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All those countries are NATO members that closely border Belarus, where the Russian troops are currently. Americans would also strengthen the number of troops in Poland to about 4,000.
But that’s just American troops. NATO maintains thousands of troops across Europe who could be deployed to Ukraine if necessary. There are already about 4,000 troops stationed in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.