Ukraine: US troops on alert as West voices unity

US troops on alert as West voices unity
The Pentagon says US troops are on standby to deploy to Europe, should Russia invade Ukraine (file picture). Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: US President Joe Biden has said there is “total unanimity” with European leaders over Russia’s troop build-up on the border with Ukraine.

During crisis talks on Monday, Western powers agreed to “swift” and “unprecedented” sanctions against Russia if it were to invade.

The US has also put 8,500 thousands of troops on alert.

Russia denies plans of an incursion, despite deploying some 100,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s border.

Joining the US and UK on the call were the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the EU. The head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg also dialled in.

“I had a very, very, very good meeting – total unanimity with all the European leaders,” Mr Biden said afterwards.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the leaders “agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility”.

Should a further Russian incursion into Ukraine happen, they agreed that “allies must enact swift retributive responses including an unprecedented package of sanctions”.

The aim of the 80-minute video call between the allies was to agree on a common strategy against Russia’s actions, after some disagreements over how Western nations were responding.

On Monday, UK PM Boris Johnson warned that “gloomy” intelligence suggests Russia is planning a lightning raid on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the UK started withdrawing some staff from its embassy there.

The US took a similar move, by ordering relatives of its embassy staff to leave.

But EU staff are to stay in place for now, with foreign policy chief Josep Borrell saying he would not “dramatise” the tensions.

There have also been differences on the support given to Ukraine – the US and UK are among the nations to have sent military aid. However Germany refused Ukraine’s request for defensive weapons, and will instead send medical aid, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told local media.

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