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US troops on high alert over Ukraine conflict, Biden calls on European allies

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The United States on Monday alerted 8,500 troops in the wake of rising tensions in Ukraine, and President Joe Biden called on European allies to maintain Western unity in the face of Russian pressure.

Meanwhile, the European Union called on its allies to avoid a “nervous breakdown” for fear of Russia’s total invasion of Ukraine.

Despite insisting that he had no intention of launching an attack, President Vladimir Putin has deployed about 100,000 troops near Ukraine, where Russia already captured Crimea in 2014 and backed eastern separatist forces.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. military, which has up to 8,500 troops, is “on high alert” but has not yet deployed troops. If the NATO response force is activated, most troops will use it to strengthen it.

“This assures our NATO allies,” Kirby said. “It simply came to our notice then. ⁇

NATO also said it was sending planes and ships to strengthen its eastern frontier.

Tensions in global markets eased sharply as Russia’s major stock index fell and the central bank suspended currency purchases following the fall of the ruble.

Moscow demands assurances that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, will never join NATO, and other concessions from the United States in exchange for reducing tensions.

The U.S. and NATO have rejected Russian demands, urging Putin to warn that a Russian attack on Ukraine could lead to “severe” economic sanctions and a strong NATO presence in Eastern Europe.

The French government says Russian and Ukrainian officials will meet with their French and German rivals in Paris on Wednesday to try to find a way out of the crisis.

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As the crisis continues, Washington is seeking to maintain NATO and Atlantic unity against Russia, which supplies about 40% of the EU’s natural gas.

At the White House, Biden was scheduled to hold a secure video call with leaders from France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Poland, the European Union and NATO.

The White House said the talks were part of our ongoing consultation and coordination with allies in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kirby asserted that there was “no daylight” between Washington and its EU allies.

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borel said after talks with senior US diplomat Anthony Blink that there was no “immediate” proposal for a Russian offensive.

“You have to be calm in doing what you have to do and avoid nervous breakdowns,” he said.

Kiev and the EU said it was premature to withdraw staff from foreign embassies.

But Britain and Australia have ordered the families of diplomats to follow in the footsteps of the United States, while telling French citizens to avoid unnecessary trips to Ukraine.

“It is important to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and to maintain the unity of all EU member states,” Volodymyr Selensky, President of Ukraine, told Charles Michel, President of the Council of Europe.

NATO troops ‘ready’

The US-led NATO alliance said its members were deploying troops and sending ships and planes on a standby basis to strengthen Eastern Europe’s defense in response to a growing Russia, highlighting recent decisions by Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands.

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NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg assured the alliance that it would take all necessary steps to protect its members.

The Kremlin accused NATO of “hysteria” and warned of possible attacks by Ukrainian troops fighting Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Referring to the Kremlin allegations, Selensky’s office said Ukraine would not give in to provocations.

The United States has warned that Moscow may fabricate a “false flag” incident in Ukraine so that it can present a justifiable response to the occupation.

EU differences

The European Union (EU) and the United States are trying to end a series of sanctions against Moscow, which they hope will push Russia back.

But the 27-nation team faces a complex mission because its members have different approaches and relationships with Russia.

Kiev has criticized the new government of Germany, the European Union’s economic powerhouse, for refusing to send arms to Ukraine. .

German Foreign Minister Analina Bairbok assured that there would be a “clear response” from Europe to any attack on Moscow, and spoke of Berlin’s financial support for Kiev.

Ursula von Der Lane, head of the European Commission, said an emergency financial aid package of 1.2 billion euros was being prepared for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ireland, a non-NATO member, has warned of possible Russian military exercises in the international Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast.

(AFP)

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