US-Russia Ukraine tensions peak: 5,000 US troops for E. Europe, US mulls sanctions to hit Russian smartphones

President Joe Biden has decided to send 5,000 troops, battleships, bombers and interception planes to the Baltic region and East Europe in response to the Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border. Moscow: We will respond appropriately. Biden’s decision came out of a top-level conference with Pentagon and military officials at Camp David on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Part of the US expeditionary force will be drawn from home bases and part from European contingents. NATO will also divert to E. Europe warships and fighter jets from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as reinforcements.  No American troops have been assigned as yet to Ukraine itself.
Andrei Kartapolov, Chair of the Russian Parliament’s Security Committee, responded: “Even as we’re engaged in diplomacy, we are very much focused on building up defense, building up deterrence.” Russia will respond appropriately if those forces reach East Europe, he said.
Speaking for the European Union, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said: “There’s no doubt we are ready to react with comprehensive never-before-seen sanctions if Russia were to invade Ukraine again.”

The Washington Post reported on Monday that if Russia does invade Ukraine, the US has prepared “novel export sanctions to damage strategic Russian industries, from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to civilian aerospace.” The Biden administration may also decide to apply such controls “in a way that would potentially deprive Russian citizens of some smartphones, tablets and video game consoles,” some officials were quoted as saying.

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