President Joe Biden has ordered approximately 7,000 additional U.S. troops to deploy to Europe on Thursday, and Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced on Friday that the U.S. now has 10,000-12,000 U.S. troops on prepare to deploy orders due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday, the Department of Defense announced Biden had ordered 7,000 U.S. service members would deploy to Germany to enhance deterrence from Russia further attacking North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. Thursday’s announcement brought the total number of U.S. troops that have deployed or been ordered to deploy amid the Ukraine crisis to 12,000.
In the Thursday announcement, the DoD said a large portion of this new troop deployment would consist of soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
There are already about 80,000 U.S. troops stationed throughout Europe. About 3,000 U.S. troops have already been moved within Europe to be closer to NATO’s eastern flank. The DoD said the additional 7,000 U.S. troops would initially deploy to Germany and then be repositioned to other areas in Europe.
There are currently about 2 million total NATO-allied troops within Europe at this time.
Kirby said an unspecified number of the U.S. forces being deployed may join the NATO response force, which was called into action for the first time ever on Friday. Kirby said other U.S. forces would deploy for separate missions throughout Europe.
Kirby said so far it’s “not clear where Mr. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is going” but “one of the reasons we’re doing this is we want to make it clear to him that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
Still, Kirby said he wants to be “very clear that U.S. troops will not be fighting Ukraine,” a point that President Joe Biden has also repeated.
Kirby said the U.S. has instead provided and would continue to provide lethal defensive equipment to Ukraine.
Thus far, the DoD has assessed that Ukraine’s forces have fought back effectively against the Russian invasion.
“What we’ve seen over the last 24 hours, we do assess that there is greater resistance by the Ukrainians than the Russians expected,” an unnamed official said in an official press release. “We also assess over the last 24 hours that in general … the Russians have lost a little bit of their momentum. They are not advancing as far or as fast as we believe they expected they would do. A good indicator of that is no population centers have been taken.”
The unnamed DoD official also said Russia has not yet achieved air superiority over Ukraine. “Ukrainian air missile defense systems are still working, though they were degraded by strikes.”
The DoD has also assessed Russia has committed to the invasion effort about a third of the forces it had amassed on Ukraine’s borders and in Belarus in recent months.