A US air assault division is being sent to Europe to help protect NATO’s eastern flank in a move that follows a senior Kremlin official saying Russia was waging a war with the military alliance on Ukrainian soil.
The deployment of the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles”, was announced Thursday by the American mission to NATO. He said nearly 2,400 troops would be sent to NATO member countries Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia to “reassure our allies and deter our adversaries”.
Come back with a bang
After 80 years, the 101st Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles, returns to Europe. Nearly 2,400 soldiers will be deployed in , , , and , to protect NATO’s eastern flank, reassure our Allies and deter our adversaries. #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/4uGnZzpbFA
— US Mission to NATO (@USNATO) August 11, 2022
The day before, Sergey Kiriyenko, the first deputy chief of the Russian presidential staff, had alleged that the West was carrying out a “hot military operation” against Russia in Ukraine.
“We understand very well that on the territory of Ukraine we are not at war with Ukraine and, of course, not with the Ukrainians,” Russian news agency Tass was quoted as saying by the agency. Tass Russian press. “The entire NATO bloc is waging a war against Russia, on the territory of Ukraine and in Ukrainian hands.”
NATO’s increased presence in Europe comes amid fears that Russia’s ongoing war could spread beyond Ukraine’s borders, potentially triggering a wider confrontation between the 30-member alliance of NATO and the forces of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although Putin himself has not said that Russia and NATO are at war and no official statement has been made, he has warned in recent months that any country that “creates a strategic threat to Russia” during the Ukrainian offensive can expect “retaliatory strikes”.
A US air assault division is sent to Europe to help protect NATO’s eastern flank. Above, US Black Hawk helicopters take off during a demonstration exercise at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta, Romania, on July 30. Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images
In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested in an interview on Russian state television that with the West supplying arms to Ukraine, “NATO will essentially go to war with the Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
On Wednesday, Kiriyenko also accused Ukrainian leaders of allowing the nation and its people to become a NATO proxy, Tass reported.
“They provided the territory of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in an attempt to build a fundamental confrontation between the Western community against Russia on this territory,” he said. “Of course, NATO will fight hard, as itself does not hesitate to declare, against Russia to the last Ukrainian and without the slightest trace of remorse.”
Although NATO was not directly involved in the war, member states provided the war-torn country with security assistance and weapons, such as the high mobility artillery rocket system provided by the United States, or HIMARS, which has recently gained media attention for its success in assisting Ukrainian forces.
The U.S. Army describes the Screaming Eagles as an airborne division “recognized for its unparalleled air assault capability, ability to execute any combat or emergency mission anywhere in the world.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Kremlin and NATO for comment.
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