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Russia-Ukraine conflict: US may be forced to withdraw military in case Russia carries out invasion
Fears remain that Russia may attempt an invasion of Ukraine following the situation at the border over the past months. However, the threat of a possible Russian invasion may put the US military forces in Ukraine at risk.
AFP reports that in the event that Russia decides to invade Ukraine, the US may be forced to withdraw troops that are currently based in Ukraine. Up to 200 members of the US National Guard troops are stationed in Ukraine as part of a regular rotation going back to 2015. The troops are training with the Ukrainian army along with troops from NATO and Germany.
An unknown number of US special operations forces are also in Ukraine and working with their counterparts in the region.
US President Joe Biden has ruled out the possibility that US troops would be fighting alongside Ukraine against the Russians should they launch an offensive against Ukraine. This is especially as Moscow has deployed over 100,000 troops and artillery to the borders. This may mean that Americans in Ukraine may be forced to an abrupt retreat if an offensive is launched by Russia.
“The Florida National Guard currently has members deployed to Ukraine in this rotating advise-and-assist capacity,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
“Obviously…we are going to continue to watch the situation on the ground, and if we need to make decisions for force protection purposes, we’ll do that,” said Kirby. “There are no changes planned to their operations in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, four Ukrainians have been sanctioned by the US, two of them lawmakers, and accusing them of working on behalf of Russian intelligence to “destabilize” Ukraine amidst tensions in the region. Washington announced the sanctions Thursday, saying it will be coordinating with Kyiv to “identify, expose, and impose costs” on Ukrainians working for Russia.
Two members of the Ukrainian Parliament, Taras Kozak, and Oleg Voloshyn are targeted by the sanctions. Former Ukrainian officials Vladimir Sivkovich and Volodymyr Olinyk are also part of the four that are being sanctioned by Washington.
“This action is intended to target, highlight, and undercut Russia’s ongoing destabilization effort in Ukraine,” said the State Department in a statement.