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Russian Forces in Position to Attack Ukraine, Kirby Says

Russian forces are in position to launch an attack against Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said here today. 


Kirby did not get into the timing of an attack saying that only Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that.  

"What we see is that Russian forces continue to assemble closer to the border and put themselves in an advanced stage of readiness to … conduct military action in Ukraine again, at virtually any time now," he said. "They are ready." 

Kirby said a Russian conflict with Ukraine would be Vladimir Putin's "war of choice" and that he would be solely to blame for the death, suffering and destruction that an invasion would entail. A Russian invasion would be bloody and would happen with the tool of diplomacy "still on the table," Kirby said. "He's doing this by choice. This will be a war of choice and totally unnecessary." 

A civilian speaks at a lectern.
From the Lectern
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a news briefing at the Pentagon, Feb. 23, 2022.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220223-D-BN624-0073

The action against Ukraine has implications for NATO allies that border Russia and Ukraine. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered U.S. military units based in Europe to move to the NATO allies that make up the eastern flank. These units will be in place within a week and is being done to assure NATO allies. This includes an infantry battalion task force that will deploy from Italy to the Baltic region. Eight F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters will deploy from Germany to several operating locations on the eastern flank. Twenty AH-64 Apache helicopters will move from Germany to the Baltic region and another 12 will move from Greece to Poland.  

All told, this movement within U.S. European Command will include about 1,000 service members. "I want to stress two things: They're being repositioned inside Europe, … and these are temporary deployments," Kirby said.

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