Republicans Ask Biden to Deploy US Troops Near Ukraine, Arm Kiev to ‘Deter a Russian Invasion’
12:26 GMT 06.11.2021 (Updated: 12:41 GMT 06.11.2021)
The Russian Embassy in Washington expressed vexation over the expression of “concern” among US officials regarding the movement of Russian troops inside the country’s own borders. Last week, US media falsely reported on the alleged buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine.
A pair of Republican lawmakers has called on the White House to send additional weaponry to Ukraine, ramp up intelligence sharing with Kiev, and deploy the US military to the Black Sea area to “deter” Russia and stop a potential “invasion” of the Eastern European country by Moscow.
“With the recent massing of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, we urge your administration to take immediate and swift action to provide support to Ukraine in the form of intelligence and weapons,” representatives Mike Rogers and Mike Turner wrote
in a letter seen by DefenseNews late Friday.
“We also urge your administration to deploy a US military presence in the Black Sea to deter a Russian invasion,” the letter added. “Additionally, we urge you to immediately consider an appropriate US military presence and posture in the region and to initiate appropriate intelligence sharing activities between the US and Ukraine to prevent the situation from escalating further.”
The letter follows a briefing by Ukrainian officials to Congress last week asking NATO to step up its presence in the Black Sea region, and a request to create a NATO force in the region akin to the Baltic Sea defence force of battalion-size battlegroups.
The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC expressed vexation late Friday
over US “concerns” about “the activity of [Russian] military forces on the national territory within Russian borders,” asking the US to “look in the mirror,” and suggesting that “it is the US military roaming recklessly around the world and leaving behind chaos”.
In a briefing earlier in the day, State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter warned
that her department was “certainly concerned with any public reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine”.
Earlier in the week, US media published
satellite images purporting to show the buildup of Russian military equipment “on the border with Ukraine”, while actually publishing images of an apparent concentration of Russian armoured units and support equipment in Yelnya, Smolensk, about 250 km north of Ukraine, and as about 800 km from the conflict zone in the country’s east.
On Saturday, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported
that Washington had appealed to the European Union collectively and several European states individually over the alleged build-up of Russian forces. Sources cited by the paper pointed to recent “extremely aggressive rhetoric” by Russian authorities, without elaborating, while the newspaper recalled President Biden’s request to German authorities at the G20 Summit in Rome to “increase pressure on Russia in connection with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline”.
3 November 2021, 11:26 GMT
Moscow has dismissed reports about the deployment of Russian near Ukraine, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters that Russia is moving its troops on its own territory and at its own discretion. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the reporting “fake news.”
On Tuesday, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, offered a rare rebuke of Western media, accusing them of “deliberately”
spreading “misinformation,” and stressing that the reports do “not correspond to reality.” On Monday, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate said that
no additional Russian units, weapons or military equipment have been observed being transferred to the border with Ukraine.
Since the February 2014 US and EU-backed coup d’etat in Kiev and the start of the civil war in eastern Ukraine in the spring of that year, the US and its allies have committed hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, and deployed units in country to train its military.
1 November 2021, 12:27 GMT
Last month, Kiev deployed
a Turkey-bought Bayraktar combat drone in the war-torn Donbass for the first time, with Moscow, one of the guarantors of the Minsk ceasefire agreement alongside Germany and France, expressing concerns about the use of such weapons – which is illegal under the terms of the ceasefire. Washington, meanwhile, has praised Turkey, and called on America’s other allies to lift restrictions on the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has claimed over 13,000 lives, with tens of thousands more injured and nearly 2.5 million residents fleeing their homes (as many as one million of them to neighbouring Russia, where they have been accepted as refugees).