(PresidentialInsider.com)- After the White House revealed that 8,500 American troops have been placed on heightened alert for the possibility of being deployed to Eastern Europe to help Ukraine defend against a possible Russian invasion, the Pentagon has said that the decision to send the troops will depend entirely on what President Vladimir Putin decides to do next.
John Kirby said on Tuesday that wouldn’t rule out putting more troops on alert if it proves necessary.
He made the comments during an interview on CNN with Kate Bolduan, saying that the soldiers have essentially been placed on a “shorter bit of tether” but that there have been no deployment orders so far.
“It’s difficult to tell how soon this would happen,” he added, before explaining that any kind of incursion of Russian troops into Ukraine would “drive NATO and other allies to make posture decisions they haven’t made yet.”
The decision to send troops to Eastern Europe and assist Ukraine will be made by NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as Gen. Tod Wolter, the commander of the United States European Command.
British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab also said in recent days that the country has intelligence that former Ukrainian legislator Yevhen Murayev has been tapped by the Russian government to head a puppet government in the country should Russian troops ultimately invade. Murayev denied the claims, however, claiming that the British government was pushing “disinformation.” Ukrainian officials, however, have said that the claims should be analyzed seriously.
Russia has yet to make any incursion into Ukraine, but with roughly 100,000 troops stationed on the border with Ukraine, an invasion is considered imminent.