Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on the West not to panic
A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “terrible” for the country, according to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
United States President Joe Biden announced Friday that he would send US troops to Eastern Europe amid heightened tensions on the border with Ukraine in recent months, raising fears of an armed conflict erupting in the countryside. .
“I will be moving American troops to NATO countries in Europe at short notice,” he told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base from the White House office after returning from a trip to Pittsburgh, the White House said in a brief statement, although it hasn’t given any details as to which countries they will ship to.
Shortly before the announcement, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin this Friday transferred Washington’s intention to avoid conflict to Russia and offered it “a way out of the crisis” which consists in withdrawing its own troops from the border with Ukraine.
“There is no reason why this situation has to become a conflict,” Austin said at a press conference at the Pentagon, from where he assured that Russian President Vladimir Putin now has de-escalation in his hands. “You can order your troops to retreat. You can choose dialogue and diplomacy.”
For his part, prior to this announcement by the President, the Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, announced that there were no plans to send troops to Ukraine, although this week it was confirmed from Washington that they had about 8,500 troops in “highest alert” for a possible deployment in the region.
Indeed, earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby detailed the divisions of the troops, noting that the units “include medical support, air support, logistical support and, of course, combat formations,” according to Bloomberg.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley then appeared at a press conference and urged Russia to take the diplomatic route rather than invade Ukraine.
On that note, Milley has expressed that in dense urban areas along the highways the troops would look “terrible”: “It would be terrifying. And it is not necessary. We believe a diplomatic outcome is the way to go here,” according to CBS News.
“The United States, consistent with our allies and partners, has offered Russia a path out of the crisis and toward greater security, and the Department of Defense will continue to support these diplomatic efforts,” Austin said in a Defense Department statement.
However, both Austin and Milley have said the 8,500 US troops have not yet been ordered to go anywhere, stressing that “there is still time for diplomacy”. The troops become part of the NATO Response Force when this unit is activated.
“We placed thousands of US troops on ‘ready to deploy’ orders earlier this week,” Austin said, adding that if NATO were to activate their response forces, “those troops will be ready to deploy.”
PANIC IN UKRAINE
For his part, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy held a telephone conversation this Friday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, to whom he reaffirmed his intention to use diplomacy as a tool to “mitigate” the escalation of tensions with Russia. .
“As long as there is a favorable climate for dialogue, it is necessary to fill the time for meetings and negotiations. As long as diplomatic efforts continue, the possibility of further escalation decreases,” said the Ukrainian president.
Following the phone call between Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart, which a senior official told CNN did not go “well” — and in which he told CNN to calm the situation — Zelenskyy asked the West this Friday not to create more panic .
“They just say there’s war tomorrow. That’s panic, how much is that costing our state?” the BBC network picks up.