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US troop deployment in Romania poses threat to Russia: Kremlin

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1-502nd, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) board a CH-47 Chinook, Fort Campbell, Ky., April 20, 2021. (Photo by US Army)

The Kremlin says US troop deployment in Romania, near the Ukrainian border, poses a threat to Russia, more than eight months after Moscow began a military offensive in Ukraine.

The US Army has already deployed the 2nd Brigade of its 101st Airborne Division to Romania near the Ukrainian border. It is the first time in almost 80 years that the division, with a regular number of 4,700 people, has deployed to Europe.

The development is significant as it comes against the backdrop of Ukrainian forces advancing into Kherson, a Ukrainian region that joined the Russian Federation quite recently. Russian troops have fortified the region to prevent Ukrainian forces from retaking it.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the US troop deployment as a threat against Russia.

"The closer US forces are to our borders, the greater the danger for us is. Of course, the better we counter and will continue to counter when ensuring our own security," he said at a press conference.

Peskov added that such deployment of US troops near Russian borders, in any case, "does not lead to increase of predictability and stability" in the region.

Described as the most combat-ready and elite units of the US Army, the light infantry unit -  nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles" - can deploy to any war zone across the globe in the shortest possible time.

The elite unit is now only around three miles from Romania's border with Ukraine.

CBS News reported last week that the US 101st Airborne Division was ready to enter the Ukrainian territory in case of further escalation between Russia and Ukraine or an attack on a NATO member state. 

Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia constitute four Ukrainian regions Russia recognized as independent sovereign states last month after holding referendums that saw massive participation of voters. The said regions joined the Russian Federation following the referendums.

Russia began its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, with the declared aim of “de-Nazifying” the country. Since the onset of the operation, the United States and its European allies have imposed waves of economic sanctions against Moscow while supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev over Russian objections.

Moscow has been critical of the weapons supplies to Kiev, warning that they will prolong the war.

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