American troops arriving in Poland are meant to support Polish authorities in containing a wave of refugees that could arise if Russian invades Ukraine, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby announced that none of the 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division will be directed to act in Ukraine’s territory in accordance with President Joe Biden’s previous declaration on the matter. Kirby emphasized the versatility of the soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division who arrived in Poland a few days ago.
In an interview for MSNBC, Kirby explained that their final plan of action will be worked out with Polish authorities, with whom the American military is sharing its experience with.
“The American soldiers which have arrived in Poland are closely cooperating with Polish authorities to support them in controlling and evacuating a wave of refugees that could arise in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Kirby stated.
The spokesman also informed that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin will meet this week with the leaders of NATO, Lithuania and Poland during his visit to Europe. He will also speak with high-ranking military commanders and the Polish and American soldiers stationed in Poland.
Kirby pointed to the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and doubted Russian claims that the troops were only meant for military drills.
“Vladimir Putin continues to maintain readiness for aggression and is doing everything that could be expected of someone who has decided to undertake military activity,” he said.
“We believe that he has a lot of capabilities and options available to him. Should he want to use military force and as we said, it could happen any day,” Kirby warned.