The U.S. announced Wednesday that it will deploy 3,000 troops to bolster NATO forces in Eastern Europe. Of U.S. soldiers in Germany, 1,000 will move to Romania and 2,000 to Poland. “The current situation demands that we reinforce the deterrent and defensive posture on NATO’s eastern flank,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called these moves “destructive steps, which increase military tension and reduce scope for political decision.” Additionally, joint military drills involving an estimated 30,000 Russian troops are planned for February 10-20 in Belarus. Last week, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Belarus would go to war if Russia was attacked.
The U.S. and NATO response to Russian security demands was leaked to Spain’s El Pais newspaper. Although the U.S. and NATO rejected Russia’s core demand to ban Ukrainian membership to NATO, they offered to discuss other security issues, such as missile disarmament and transparency mechanisms. The Kremlin declined to comment on the leak, but this week Putin publicly discussed the crisis, saying, “It is already clear that fundamental Russian concerns ended up being ignored.” Russia is still working on their official response to the U.S. and NATO.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said Russia has prepared a fake video of the Ukrainian military attacking Russian territory to use as a possible pretext for invading Ukraine. The false flag video would play into the propaganda narrative of Ukrainian “genocide” of Russian-speaking people and create outrage to justify Russian intervention. “The production of this propaganda video is one of a number of options that the Russian government is developing as a fake pretext to initiate and potentially justify military aggression against Ukraine,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.