(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden told reporters Friday night he will send American troops to Europe as tensions rise.
“I’ll be moving troops to Eastern Europe in the NATO countries in the near term,” Biden said on the tarmac after returning from an appearance in Pittsburgh. “Not a lot.”
Biden turned from reporters after that remark and did not elaborate.
The Biden administration had previously announced 8,500 troops would be on alert, but did not commit to deploying them.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has taken into account the risk that any troop movements could inflame the situation, but stressed the need for America to reassure its allies. Moving large units with heavy equipment and weapons often requires more time due to travel and logistical challenges.
The U.S. and NATO rejected demands from the Kremlin this week to ensure Ukraine could not join, though Biden administration representatives have said there are some areas where negotiation is possible.
Despite that, U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that there is a “distinct possibility” that Russia could take military action against the former Soviet state in February. Russia has repeatedly denied having any such plans.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a radio interviewer that Russia doesn’t want war but sees no room for compromise on its demands.
Zelenskyy sought to play down the war fears, saying Western alarm over an imminent invasion has prompted many investors in the country’s financial markets to cash out.
“We don’t need this panic,” he said at a news conference. “It cost Ukrainians dearly.”