State Dept: Reports That US Weighing Options to Pull Back Troops in Eastern Europe Not True

© AP Photo / Mindaugas KulbisAbrams battle tanks from the US Army's 4th Infantry Division 3rd Brigade Combat Team 68th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion on rail cars as they arrive at the Gaiziunai railway station some 110 kms (69 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.
Abrams battle tanks from the US Army's 4th Infantry Division 3rd Brigade Combat Team 68th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion on rail cars as they arrive at the Gaiziunai railway station some 110 kms (69 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2022
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NBC reported, citing current and former US officials, that Washington was allegedly prepared to offer scaling back the number of American troops and military drills conducted in Eastern Europe during the upcoming bilateral security talks with Moscow.
The proposal was said to be dependent on whether Russia agrees to reduce alleged military activity near Ukraine’s border, as Moscow has repeatedly pointed out it is free to rotate military units within its territory.

”It is not accurate that the US administration is developing options for pulling back US forces in Eastern Europe,” a senior State Department official said during a conference call on Friday.

"Should Russia further invade Ukraine, we will provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we already are in the process of providing," the official also added.

US Views Russia's Call to Remove Nuclear Weapons From Allies’ Territory ’Problematic’

Washington finds Moscow’s calls to remove nuclear arsenal from allies’ territory in Europe to be "problematic" and NATO will remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist, the official also said on Friday.

"Russia has repeatedly called publicly for the US to remove its deployed nuclear weapons from ally territory. So, the calling for that is not anything that we haven't heard before. But, you know, we've made clear to Russia in the past that those are really problematic for the United States, and we have affirmed that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance," the official said.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has discussed with Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks the current situation along NATO’s eastern flank and the importance of enhancing readiness and interoperability of forces, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said earlier in the day. The two officials discussed a wide range of issues, including Russia’s ”destabilizing actions” in eastern Europe, according to Kirby.
Russian soldiers stand near a Topol-M ICBM while participating in a rehearsal for the nation's Victory Day parade outside Moscow in Alabino on April 22, 2008 - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.12.2021
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US Urges Allies to Treat With ’Extreme Skepticism’ Russia’s Comments After Security Talks

"We fully expect that the Russian side will make public comments following the meeting on Monday that will not reflect the true nature of the discussions that took place," the official said. "We would urge our allies and partners to view those comments with extreme skepticism and to continue their ongoing discussions and coordination with the United States."
The US official also said that Washington ”wants to hear what the Russians have to say. So, we won’t necessarily say we’re not going to listen to you or whatever because we are wanting to have a dialogue with them [Russia], and part of the dialogue is to hear what they have to say and to express our own concerns.”
The Russia-NATO council on security guarantees is scheduled to be held on January 12 in Brussels. Russia has presented NATO and the United State draft agreements on security guarantees, which includes non-expansion of NATO eastwards. Moreover, Russia and the United States are to hold another round of the dialogue on strategic stability in Geneva and consultations in the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna next week.
The crisis in Russia-Ukraine relations is expected to become one of the most important security topics during talks.
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