Europe

Biden Weighs Deploying Thousands of Troops to Eastern Europe and Baltics

During the meeting at Camp David, Mr. Austin and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared by video from the Pentagon and from General Milley’s quarters, where he has been quarantining since he tested positive for the coronavirus. Officials said that if Mr. Biden approved the deployment, some of the troops would come from the United States, while others would move from other parts of Europe to the more vulnerable countries on NATO’s eastern flank.

American officials did not describe in detail the ground troop reinforcements under review, but current and former commanders said they should include more air defense, engineering, logistics and artillery forces.

Besides the troops, Mr. Biden could also approve sending additional aircraft to the region.

Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Sunday that the United States also needed to conduct more training in those NATO nations.

“We need joint exercises in Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria, to show Putin that we’re serious,” Mr. McCaul said on “Face the Nation.” “Right now, he doesn’t see we’re serious.”

According to Poland’s defense ministry, there are currently about 4,000 U.S. troops and 1,000 other NATO troops stationed in Poland. There are also about 4,000 NATO troops in the Baltic States.

The United States has been regularly flying Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint electronic-eavesdropping planes over Ukraine since late December. The planes allow American intelligence operatives to listen to Russian ground commanders’ communications. The Air Force is also flying E-8 JSTARS ground-surveillance planes to track the Russian troop buildup and the movements of the forces.

The Biden administration is especially interested in any indication that Russia may deploy tactical nuclear weapons to the border, a move that Russian officials have suggested could be an option.

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