Biden To Send Troops To Eastern Europe Amid Ukraine Diplomacy Push
Umer Jamshaid Published January 29, 2022 | 08:50 AM
Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 29th Jan, 2022 ) :US President Joe Biden on Friday sought to maintain pressure on Russian leader Vladimir Putin over Ukraine, announcing a small troop deployment to eastern Europe even as top Pentagon officials backed a renewed push for diplomacy.
As President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western leaders to avoid stirring "panic" over the massive Russian troop buildup on his country's borders, Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on the need for de-escalation.
But according to a Macron aide, Putin told the French leader in a call lasting more than an hour that he had "no offensive plans." In Washington, Biden nevertheless said he would soon send a small number of US troops -- "not too many" -- to bolster the NATO presence in eastern Europe as tensions remain heightened.
Any such conflict, warned the top US general, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, would be "horrific" for both sides.
"It would be horrific, it will be terrible," he said.
"Conflict is not inevitable. There is still time and space for diplomacy," said Austin.
"Mr Putin can do the right thing as well," said Austin. "There is no reason that this situation has to devolve into conflict. He can choose to de-escalate. He can order his troops away." During his talks with Macron, Putin "expressed no offensive plans and said he wanted to continue the talks with France and our allies," the aide to the French president said.
Their conversation "enabled us to agree on the need for a de-escalation," the aide told journalists. Putin "said very clearly that he did not want confrontation." - Complex threat - Since October, Russia has amassed more than 100,000 combat troops and equipment, as well as support forces, along its frontier with Ukraine and more recently in Belarus, which borders Ukraine on the north.
Western officials say Russia has also mustered more air and sea assets in the region, creating a complex threat like none seen since the Cold War.
Those demands have been the subject of intensive negotiations, with the West warning of far-reaching consequences if diplomacy fails and Russia attacks.
In talks with Macron, the Ukrainian leader called for more meetings and talks "while a propitious climate for dialogue exists." - Russia's concerns not addressed - Putin also made clear to Macron that the written responses from the West to his demands this week had fallen short of Russia's expectations, the Kremlin said.
He added that the West had ignored the "key question," that no country should strengthen its security at the expense of others, adding Russia would "carefully study" the responses, "after which it will decide on further actions." Russia has also demanded a pullback of NATO forces deployed to eastern European and ex-Soviet countries that joined the alliance after the Cold War.
In a sign of continued tensions, Russia announced Friday evening it had added several EU officials to a list of people banned from entering the country, saying they were responsible for "anti-Russian policies." - Threat to key pipeline - The Putin-Macron phone call followed talks in Paris this week between Russia and Ukraine, with France and Germany alongside, which produced a joint statement to preserve a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Moscow separatists.
"Taking into account the results of the meeting" in Paris, the Kremlin said, "the mood for further work of Russia and France in this format was confirmed." In tandem with the diplomacy, the West has upped its threats of a tough response to an invasion.
Milley said Russia itself would be hurt by war.