Jan 29, 2022 11:25 UTC
  • Biden says to send troops after Ukraine asks West 'not to stir panic'

US President Joe Biden says he will soon deploy American military forces to Eastern Europe as part of a plan to maintain pressure on Russia amid escalating tensions over Ukraine.

"I will be moving US troops to Eastern Europe in NATO countries in the near term," Biden told reporters in Washington on Friday when asked about a timeline for doing so, adding that he had no updates on the situation in Ukraine.

The US military has already placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert to prepare for deployment in Eastern Europe and bolster the NATO presence in the region following allegations about a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western leaders to avoid stirring "panic" and said Ukraine's stability is of great significance as the US' panic-triggering alerts are placing a heavy burden on its economy.

“The greatest risk for Ukraine ... is the destabilization of the situation inside the country,” Zelenskyy added, asking, “Because of all these signals that tomorrow there will be war, there are signals even from respected leaders of states, they just say that tomorrow there will be war. This is panic — how much does it cost for our state?”

His remarks came as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, underlined the need for de-escalation. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow did not want war with Ukraine. "If it is up to the Russian Federation, there will be no war. We don't want a war," he said.

He also said Russia had received proposals from the US, that were better than those it had received from NATO, however, he added that President Putin would decide how to respond to the proposals.

The top diplomat also said he expected to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the next couple of weeks.