According to a new report released Wednesday, the White House has approved a Defense Department plan for US troops stationed in Poland to assist American residents fleeing Ukraine if Russia invades, as the Biden administration wants to avoid a recurrence of the Afghanistan exit disaster.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the approximately 1,700 82nd Airborne paratroopers who arrived in Poland last week would soon set up tent camps, checkpoints, and other infrastructure to lodge Americans inside Polish territory.
The US forces would not enter Ukraine, but will offer logistical assistance and assist with the coordination of American departures from Kiev and other places, most likely by land without military backup.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the US and its allies, has been stationing up to 140,000 troops at the Ukraine border for months and has been expanding the force practically daily, prompting White House officials to warn that an invasion might happen at any time.
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, no decisions have been made about the US military assisting Americans in evacuating Ukraine.
Kirby went on to say that parts of the 82nd Airborne, which are already in Poland, are in a readiness posture but are also multi-mission competent and will be prepared for a variety of situations.
When asked if that included helping with an evacuation, Kirby replied he couldn’t rule it out.
The Biden administration struggled to respond to the Taliban’s lightning-quick takeover of Afghanistan, which culminated with the insurgents marching into Kabul and seizing control of the Afghan government two weeks before the last US troops were scheduled to leave.
Because the capital was under Taliban control, the US military had to beef up its current forces in Afghanistan to provide security during the evacuation.