The Biden administration has ordered 3,000 more troops to be placed in countries neighboring Ukraine, but experts warn it is unlikely to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching an invasion.
Fred Kagan, a former military history professor for the Military Academy at West Point, told Fox News Digital on Thursday, “The deployment of US ground combat forces to Eastern Europe is extremely important.”
But he argued that if putin has made up his mind to invade the former Soviet nation, the troop size of NATO forces will not “deter” him.
“The US would probably have to commit to fighting with Ukraine against Russia to change Putin’s calculus seriously if he has military conquest in mind,” said Kagan, who is a senior fellow and the director of the Critical Threats Project for the American Enterprise Institute ( AEI).
Roughly 2,000 American troops stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will be sent to Poland, while another 1,000 US troops in Germany will be redeployed to Romania.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that the further deployment of US troops in countries surrounding Ukraine is a “defensive posture,” but he added that they “will not fight in Ukraine” – a strategy that has been agreed to by NATO as Kyiv is not an alliance member.
The movement comes as Russia continues to maintain a force of more than 120,000 troops along Ukraine’s border.
The Kremlin has accused the US of hyping up the security threat and has claimed it has no intention of invading Ukraine.
But security experts agree the decision to move more troops to NATO’s eastern flank was strategically necessary.
“NATO’s great strength derives from allied solidarity,” said Michael Ryan, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO. “United States leadership is essential for alliance success, but the US does not defend NATO, the US is one of 30 nations.
“This initial American force movement should and will encourage other allies to commit their forces to the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank,” he added.
The Pentagon and State Department confirmed reporting Thursday that Russia is looking to “fabricate” a scenario that would allow it to justify a Ukrainian invasion – a move he said was “right out of their playbook.”
The Pentagon spokesperson said the Department of Defense is expecting the Russian government to put forward a “very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses” as well as images of mourners and “destroyed” military equipment and locations.
Kirby also suggested the Kremlin could try and implicate the West in a fabricated attack by depicting military equipment supplied to Ukraine by NATO member nations – a move he said has been seen in the past.
The US and NATO have definitively warned Russia that any breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty will be met with swift and severe economic sanctions.
But James Anderson, president of the Institute of World Politics and former deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said the US and NATO need to take additional steps.
“If the United States and its allies are going to succeed in deterring Putin, they need to convince him that any invasion of Ukraine will come at an unacceptably high cost to Moscow in terms of blood and treasure,” he argued. “The administration should provide Ukraine with a more robust package of defensive weapons — on top of what has already been provided – and do so quickly.
“NATO is a 30-member club,” he added. “The administration should redouble its efforts to encourage additional NATO allies to expedite similar packages to Kyiv.”