Ukraine crisis puts Army’s 82nd Airborne on heightened alert, among other units now identified

Ukraine crisis puts Army’s 82nd Airborne on heightened alert, among other units now identified

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The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division is one of several military units on heightened alert as Russian forces continue a military buildup on the Ukrainian border.

“I can say today that these units include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, which regularly, I think you all know, maintains high readiness as well as elements of the 18th Airborne Corps, also based at Fort Bragg,” Kirby said during a press briefing Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

UKRAINE PREPARING BOMB SHELTERS AS RUSSIAN THREAT CONTINUES TO GROW

Fort Bragg isn’t the only military installation with units on heightened alert. Kirby said forces from Fort Campbell, elements of the 101st Airborne Division and from Fort Carson, Colorado, elements of the 4th Infantry Division” and “Davis-Monthan Air Force Base” have “also been placed on increased readiness.”

The news comes after Kirby said earlier this week that some 8,500 U.S. troops have been placed on heightened readiness, though at the time he declined to specify which units.

“Secretary Austin has placed a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO should activate” the NATO National Response Force, Kirby said Monday.

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, and others, prepare to board a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, and others, prepare to board a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.  (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/U.S. Army via AP)

The units will include “medical support, aviation support, logistics support and, of course, combat formations,” Kirby detailed Thursday.

Kirby declined to go into more detail about the forces, noting only that they are on increased readiness to deploy to Europe if necessary.

Some forces already in Europe are also in a state of increased readiness, Kirby said, adding that the Pentagon could opt to use forces that are already stationed in Europe if tensions continue to escalate.

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Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

The U.S. has been bracing for weeks for the possibility that Russia may launch an invasion of Ukraine, warning of dire consequences if Moscow goes through with an invasion. Over 100,000 Russian troops are at the border with Ukraine, with Kirby saying the Pentagon has continued to see a buildup of “credible combat forces” in the last 24 hours.

The State Department has urged Americans in Ukraine to leave the country, encouraging them to do so while commercial flights are still available.

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