President Joe Biden reportedly ordered 3,000 more U.S. troops to deploy to Poland on Friday amid mounting concerns Russia could invade neighboring Ukraine “at any time.”
Four U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters the new troops would consist of paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, not U.S. troops currently stationed in Europe.
The plans to deploy these additional 82nd Airborne troops come a week after Biden ordered a separate contingent of at least 3,000 U.S. troops to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations neighboring Ukraine.
The officials said the new 82nd Airborne troops are expected to arrive in Poland by next week.
Reuters reporter Idrees Ali tweeted, “The deployments are aimed at reassuring NATO allies and will not go into Ukraine.”
The new reported troop movement comes on the same day National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said new signs indicate Russia could invade Ukraine at any time, including during the Olympics, which will conclude Feb. 20.
Sullivan said Friday that the U.S. and its allies don’t have any specific intelligence indicating Russian President Vladimir Putin has reached a decision to invade, but “there is a credible prospect that a Russian military action would take place even before the end of the Olympics.”
Sullivan reiterated the Biden administration’s calls for Americans to leave Ukraine. Sullivan said Americans should try to get out within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Japan and South Korea also ordered their citizens to evacuate Ukraine on Friday, citing the worsening security situation.
U.S. troops already deployed to Poland are reportedly preparing to receive and aid Americans as they cross over from Ukraine. They have reportedly already started setting up checkpoints, tent camps and other temporary facilities near Poland’s border with Ukraine.
On Thursday, Biden reiterated that he would not send U.S. troops into Ukraine, out of concern that their presence could set off a larger conflict with Russia.
“That’s a world war,” Biden said in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. “When Americans and Russians start shooting at one another, we’re in a very different world than we’ve ever been in.”
Asked what would happen if Russian troops targeted Americans fleeing Ukraine, Biden said, “I’m hoping that if [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is foolish enough to go in, he’s smart enough not to in fact do anything negatively impact on American citizens.”