Gen. Todd Wolters, the head of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander, said the United States will need to send additional troops to Europe as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
“I think what we need to do from a U.S. force perspective is look at what takes place in Europe following the completion of Ukraine-Russia scenario and examine the European contributions and, based off the breadth and depth of the European contributions, be prepared to adjust the U.S. contributions,” Wolters said during a hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “And my suspicion is we’re going to still need more.”
The United States has already deployed thousands of troops to European countries to deter Russian aggression against NATO allies. There are currently over 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe, an increase of roughly 20,000 since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
“Obviously, there’s always a mix between the requirement of permanent versus rotational, and there are pluses and minuses of each one,” Wolters said. “We’ll have to continue to examine the European contributions to make a smart decision about where to go in the future.”
Wolters said that the U.S. could send additional troops in the next few weeks “based off conditions” in the region.
“We take a conditions-based approach, and we look at the issues second-by-second, minute-by-minute,” Wolters said. “I would just tell you that based off the dynamic environment that exists today, that number could change. I suspect that it probably will — and in which direction will be determined based off conditions.”
Wolters’ comments come as Russia claimed it would “radically” reduce its military activity around Kyiv and Chernihiv to help facilitate peace talks with Ukraine. However, U.S. officials revealed that Russia has actually been repositioning – not withdrawing – troops around Kyiv.
“Given that the talks on the preparation of an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine have moved into a practical field … a decision has been made to radically, by several times, reduce the military activity in the areas of Kyiv and Chernihiv,” said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin, adding that the pledge was meant “to increase trust” in negotiations surrounding a peace deal between the two countries.
A U.S. official disputed Russia’s claims, however, telling Fox News’ Mark Meredith that “any movement of Russian forces from around Kyiv is a redeployment, not a withdrawal, and the world should be prepared for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine.”
“No one should be fooled by Russia’s announcements,” the official said. “It also does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over. Russia has failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, and failed in its objective of subjugating all of Ukraine, but it can still inflict massive brutality on the country, including Kyiv.”