As the Russian invasion of Ukraine progresses into its third week, the whole world is still bracing for things to get worse.
The U.S. in particular seems to be preparing for serious developments, and for more of Europe to be potentially pulled into the conflict. More American forces have been deployed to Europe and two U.S. Patriot missile batteries have been sent to Poland, Stars and Stripes reported.
Though troops had already been deployed to Europe as Russian military action grew more likely, hours after the Russian invasion began Feb. 24, President Joe Biden authorized an extra 7,000 soldiers to be sent, according to Stars and Stripes.
“There should be no confusion or cover up about what Putin is doing. Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said after the invasion.
Fort Hood, Texas, was one of the military bases that deployed 160 soldiers from the III Armored Corps, WFAA-TV reported.
Military officials said these troops were ready for various missions, keeping in mind that things could change very quickly in Europe.
“Our soldiers are trained and ready,” Col. Matthew Ruedi of the 13th ESC deputy commanding officer told WFAA. “Elements of our heavy transportation company have deployed to Europe to reassure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression, and are prepared to support a range of other operations in the region.”
“It’s not just our soldiers that we ensure are ready for this mission, but we do everything we can to make sure families are ready, too. Things can change rapidly in situations like this,” he added.
In addition to these troop deployments, the U.S. is sending Poland two Patriot missile defense systems, in the growing fear that the Russian war in Ukraine could threaten the neighboring countries in Eastern Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported.
As the world has watched Russia fire at least 670 missiles into Ukraine, according to the Journal, there are worries that a missile could land in Poland, the newspaper reported.
This circumstance is what the Patriot missile defense system could defend against.
But this is also a broader defense measure for the U.S. and all of NATO, enabling the U.S. to fulfill the obligation required by Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack against one member country will be treated as an attack against all member countries.
“This defensive deployment is being conducted proactively to counter any potential threat to U.S. and Allied forces and NATO territory,” Capt. Christina Judd, a European Command spokeswoman, said in a statement, Stars and Stripes reported.
“This is a prudent force protection measure that underpins our commitment to Article 5 and will in no way support any offensive operations. Every step we take is intended to deter aggression and reassure our allies,” Judd added.
Even if the war remains contained in Ukraine and solely between Ukraine and Russia, it is only logical for the U.S. and NATO to be taking these kinds of precautions.
All wars can shift, quickly and tragically, but in a conflict that rages in a country bordering on NATO members, and involves a nuclear-armed Russia, the stakes are much higher.
No one wants to see Europe destroyed for a third time. And no one wants the West and Europe to end up in a nuclear face-off, or worse.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.