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US puts 8,500 soldiers on "higher alert" for E. Europe - Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (KUNA) -- US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 US troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, said Pentagon on Monday.
Some US forces on "heightened alert" up to 8,500 US forced on higher alert Russia has no intention to de-escalate, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a news briefing, adding that "no final decision to deploy US forces had been made".
Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said that "We have been consulting with allies and deployments and refining plans for all scenarios." "We have always said we would reinforce our allies on the eastern flank and those conversations and discussions have certainly been part of what our national security officials have been discussing with their counterparts now for several weeks," she added.
Furthermore, a White House statement said that US President Joe Biden said he would speak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Polish President Andrzej Duda and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (end) rsr.hm