The Pentagon is shipping up to eight F-35 fighter jets and a host of other fighters to Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Poland to bolster support for NATO allies after what President Biden called the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the president’s direction, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has also sent a task force of an infantry battalion – about 800 troops – to the Baltics, according to a senior Defense Department official. The official said all troops and fighters were present at the European theater.
The latest orders come as the Biden administration and its European allies call the Kremlin’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Ukraine defying international law. Mr. Biden on Tuesday joined European leaders in imposing economic sanctions against Russia for what he called violations National Sovereignty of Ukraine.
The Pentagon said additional forces were being redeployed to “reassurance our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member states, and train with forces of the host country.” The Biden administration says it has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine, which is not a member of the coalition.
Deployment operations include moving up to eight F-35 fighter jets from Germany to several operating locations along the so-called “eastern flank” of NATO in Eastern Europe, a battalion of 20 attack helicopters from Germany to the Baltics and an aviation task force. of 12 helicopters from Greece to Poland.
Mr. Biden has deployed 3,000 more US troops to Poland and Romania.