US extends troop deployment in Romania, near Ukraine border
Monday, 23 January, 2023, 20:36
Senior US officials said that the several thousand US troops currently stationed in Romania near the Ukraine border will remain there for at least nine more months, according to a New York Times report.
US officials said on Saturday that there are about 4,000 American soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division who have been deployed at the sprawling Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base since last summer, including small groups of troops that frequently train right on Romania’s border with Ukraine, the Times reported.
Over the last year, the airbase has become a training hub for NATO forces in southeast Europe. The forces would be a first line of defense should Russia invade further west, according to the report.
Officials said America’s 101st Airborne Division troops will leave in the next two months, but they would be replaced by a different brigade from the 101st Division.
They added that the mission will be led by the senior staff, including its two-star general and top planners, and the deployment is expected to be a nine-month-long.
Military analysts have said the mission led by the senior staff would allow for quick decisions about where to position troops and weapons should Russia push the war into NATO territory.
The move “would ensure the United States continues to be well positioned to provide a robust deterrent and defensive posture alongside our allies across the European continent,” the US Army said in a statement on Saturday. “The United States will continue to adjust its posture as needed in response to the dynamic security environment.”
“I am waiting for the inevitable, reciprocal move by Russia - troop placement at the US border. China could also decide to join the party,” said New York-based journalist Don DeBar.
“Cuba is one obvious possible host. Venezuela and Nicaragua are others. Even Mexico, under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and perhaps Brazil could become stations for Russian and/or Chinese military assets. Is this really where we should be heading? Where can it lead?” he asked.
Washington has also supplied weapons worth billions of dollars to Ukraine and trained its forces to fight against Russia.
US, NATO directly involved in Ukraine war: Russia’s Lavrov
“You shouldn’t say that the US and NATO aren’t taking part in this war. You are directly participating in it,” Lavrov said last month. “And not just by providing weapons but also by training personnel. You are training their military on your territory, on the territories of Britain, Germany, Italy and other countries.”
Lavrov said the US and its NATO allies are trampling on international law while trying to isolate and destroy Russia.
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