US troops land in Poland with focus on Russia-Ukraine crisis
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He said the soldiers who arrived Saturday were from the 82nd Airborne Division.
"Our Corps’ presence serves to bolster existing US forces in Europe and demonstrates our commitment to our NATO Allies and Partners,” added Captain Matt Visser, spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps, which includes the 82nd division.
The corps was made up of "combat-capable forces who stand ready to enhance the Alliance’s ability to deter and defeat Russian aggression," the US statement added.
Washington said last week it would send about 3,000 additional troops to eastern Europe to defend NATO members against any "aggression".
Western capitals have accused Russia of amassing 100,000 troops on the borders of pro-Western Ukraine in preparation for an invasion and have vowed to impose devastating sanctions on Moscow if it attacks.
Putin wins Xi backing
The demand for NATO to stop expanding came after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing that saw Putin hail the two countries' "dignified relationship".
In a long strategy document, Moscow and Beijing hit out at what they said was Washington's destabilising role in global security.
"The parties oppose the further expansion of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War era," the document read, urging respect for the "sovereignty, security and interests of other countries."
The call echoes demands from Russia that have been at the centre of weeks of intensive negotiations between Moscow and the West, under the shadow of a potential conflict.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hit back at the Russo-Chinese claims.
"This is fundamentally not about NATO expansion. This is about respecting the right of every sovereign nation to choose their own path," he told MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Western capitals have accused Russia of amassing some 100,000 troops on the borders of pro-Western Ukraine in preparation for an invasion and have vowed to impose devastating sanctions on Moscow if it attacks.
The document released by Beijing and Moscow Friday also set out criticisms of Washington's "negative impact on peace and stability" in the Asia-Pacific region.
Russia and China also said they were "seriously concerned" by the AUKUS defence alliance including Australia, the UK and the United States.
Later Friday, the first US soldiers of the 3,000 announced by President Joe Biden this week arrived in Germany at the Wiesbaden military base.
- 'Delusional' false flag claims -
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Moscow on Monday and Kyiv on Tuesday for talks with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts.
Putin's meeting with Xi -- hours ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games -- came after the United States said it had evidence of a plan by Moscow to film a fake Ukrainian attack on Russians to justify an attack on its neighbour.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the US had "information that the Russians are likely to want to fabricate a pretext for an invasion", but did not provide evidence.
"The delusional nature of such fabrications -- and there are more and more of them every day -- is obvious," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Washington's claim came on the back of visits from European leaders to shore up their backing for Kyiv, including from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- 'Intimidation strategy' -
During Erdogan's visit Thursday he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed an agreement expanding the production of parts in Ukraine for a Turkish combat drone whose sale to Kyiv has angered Moscow.
Erdogan has tried to position Turkey, which is a member of NATO, as a neutral mediator close to both Moscow and Kyiv.
Following his trip, Erdogan accused the West of making the crisis "worse".
"Unfortunately, the West until now has not made any contribution to resolving this issue," he said in comments published by local media Friday.
"They are only making things worse," Erdogan said, adding that Joe Biden "has not yet been able to demonstrate a positive approach".
Nearly eight years of fighting between Kyiv and the pro-Moscow fighters have cost more than 13,000 lives and seen the West and Russia exchange waves of tit-for-tat sanctions.
In the most recent diplomatic flare-up, Putin has demanded guarantees that Ukraine will not join NATO and has implicitly threatened the former Soviet state with the massive military build-up.
Russia preparing full-scale invasion
Russia has assembled 110,000 troops along the border with its pro-Western neighbor but US intelligence has not determined if President Vladimir Putin has actually decided to invade, according to the officials who in recent days briefed members of Congress and European allies.
The officials warned lawmakers that the assembled Russian force on the frontier is growing at a rate that would give Putin the force he needs for a full-scale invasion -- some 150,000 soldiers -- by mid-February.
They said Putin wants all possible options at his disposal: from a limited campaign in the pro-Russian Donbas region of Ukraine to a full-scale invasion.
If Moscow does opt for a full-scale attack, the invading force could take the capital Kyiv and topple President Volodymyr Zelensky in a matter of 48 hours, the officials said.
They estimated such an attack would leave 25,000 to 50,000 civilians dead, along with 5,000 to 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers and 3,000 to 10,000 Russian ones.
It could also trigger a refugee flood of one to five million people, mainly into Poland, the officials added.
- Special forces -
The first contingent of US soldiers arrived Saturday.
They added that some 1,500 Russian special forces soldiers known as Spetsnaz arrived along the Ukraine border a week ago.
- Naval forces assembling -
They added that another six amphibious craft were observed leaving the Barents Sea north of Russia, sailing past Britain and through the Strait of Gibraltar, apparently on their way to the Black Sea.