The NATO alliance will make all decisions on possible movement of troops amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, U.S. Deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer said on Tuesday.
“That’s going to be a decision for the alliance to make,” he told CNN in an interview. “The alliance will make decisions about force posture adjustments, but they are ready to go at a moment’s notice when the alliance decides.”
Asked if troops could be deployed before any Russian incursion into Ukraine, Finer told CNN: “I don’t think we’re taking any options off the table with regard to that.
“They will not be deployed anywhere but on allied territory…But the timeline and the decision-making will be left up to the alliance in full consultation with all of our allies.”
Tensions over Ukraine have mounted as Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops in reach of its neighbour’s border, surrounding Ukraine with forces from the north, east and south.
Moscow denies planning an invasion and Moscow is citing the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression.
On Monday, NATO said it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets. The United States has also put 8,500 troops on alert in case they need to deploy to Europe, a move Russia said was concerning.
Russia has also started making combat readiness inspections in its southern military district, which borders Ukraine, involving more than 6,000 troops.