Defense and national security overnight - White House responds to report on US forces

Defense and national security overnight – White House responds to report on US forces

It’s Friday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nighttime guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

The White House strongly denies a report that the Biden administration is prepared to offer scaled-down troop deployments and military exercises in Eastern Europe as the United States and Russia stand ready to meet demands of Moscow security.

Learn about the Biden administration’s setback and the report that triggered it, as well as NATO’s response to Russia’s security demands as tensions around Ukraine simmer.

For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. Email me with advice at [email protected]

Let’s go.

White House denies troop withdrawal report

The White House is pushing back an NBC News report that the Biden administration is prepared to offer reduced troop deployments and military exercises in Eastern Europe next week while the United States and Russia are on the line. point of meeting Moscow’s security requirements.

An administration official told NBC he was “compiling a list of options for changes in the position of forces in Europe to be discussed with Russia” during the talks, adding that the United States was ready to discuss specific measures if Russia was prepared to reduce its own presence.

Russia should take equivalent steps to reduce its own military presence in the region beyond troop cuts in Ukraine, officials told the outlet.

” Not precise ” : “It is not correct that the administration is developing options to withdraw US forces in Eastern Europe for talks with Russia next week, which we told NBC as they reported this story. National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne told The Hill in a statement.

“In fact, we have been clear with Russia, publicly and privately, that if Russia invades Ukraine further, we will strengthen our NATO allies on the eastern flank, to whom we have a sacred obligation,” he said. she continued. “We stand firmly behind our NATO allies as we approach this crisis together, on the principle of ‘nothing about you without you’.”

Other denials: A senior State Department official told reporters on Friday that the administration “is also not weighing troop cuts in Europe,” as the NBC report suggests.

“The administration does not discuss with Russia the number of troops stationed in the Baltic States and Poland and, unlike an anonymous official cited in this erroneous report, the administration does not list the changes in the posture of the forces to discuss in upcoming talks. There are three key statements in the circulating report [and] all three of these claims are false, ”the official said.

Next discussions: Officials from Washington and Moscow are expected to meet on Monday as fears grow that Russia is considering invading Ukraine, a move that is said to be similar to 2014, when it annexed the Crimean peninsula.

This meeting will be followed by a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday and a meeting on Thursday of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which Russia is a member.

Russia’s requirements: Russia presented its demands to the United States and NATO last month, demanding that the alliance refuse Ukraine’s membership in NATO and cancel its military deployments.

Notably, Moscow also proposes that the United States not establish any military base in former Soviet states that are not part of the alliance, nor develop bilateral military cooperation with them.

Read the full story here

NATO rejects demands to stop expansion

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday the military alliance would not stop expanding across Europe, denying Russia’s demands in the ongoing security saga with Ukraine .

“We will not compromise on basic principles, including the right for each nation to decide its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wishes to be a part of,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels at the meeting. ‘a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, according to the Associated Press.

Concerns persist: Stoltenberg said NATO is willing to discuss arms control but will not allow Russian president Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich Putin Five Things to Know as US and Russia Seek Ukraine Solution Prospects darken as US and Russia prepare to meet over Ukraine restrict the way the alliance protects member countries.

He also said that NATO was still concerned about the military strengthening of Russia, which, with its new demands, “sends the message that there is a real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe”.

Read more about it here

UNITED STATES DECLARES AFRICAN DIPLOMACY OF CHINA OFFERS ‘CHOICES’

The Biden administration is not pushing African countries to choose between a relationship with the United States or China, the State Department said Thursday in response to reports that Beijing was appointing its own special envoy for the region at risk. the Horn of Africa.

“We are committed to promoting peace, security and prosperity in the Horn and we will work with all partners who share our goals in this regard,” spokesman Ned Price said in a briefing with reporters.

“We are not asking our partners to choose between the United States and any other country, [and] which includes the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. What we are looking for is not to make them choose but to give them choices.

A new envoy: Secretary of State Antoine BlinkAntony BlinkenSunday shows – Voting rights in the spotlight after January 6 anniversary Blinken: US and Russia to see no breakthrough “in the week to come” Kazakh authorities say situation has changed stabilized after deadly violence PLUS on Thursday announced the appointment of a U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, to succeed veteran diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, who had held the inaugural post since April.

This position is seen as a critical indication of the United States’ attention to the region despite the escalation of conflicts, including the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia, the cancellation of a democratic transition in Sudan and the tensions and fighting. between countries in the region linked to instability.

Read the full story here

White House appeals to army general for Centcom

The White House has appointed Army Lieutenant General Michael Erik Kurilla to head the US Central Command (Centcom).

The Senate received an appointment for Kurilla on Wednesday and referred it to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Congressional records show. However, the records do not specify for which position Kurilla is nominated.

If confirmed, Kurilla will replace General Kenneth McKenzie, who has headed Central Command since March 2019.

His journey : Kurilla, a native of Elk River, Minn., Is currently the commanding officer of the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, NC, a role he has held since 2019.

Prior to this role, Kurilla was Chief of Staff of the US Central Command. He previously served as the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army.

New responsibilities: Kurilla is said to oversee military operations in 21 countries in Northeast Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia.

Hourly: His appointment comes amid several attacks on US forces in Syria and Iraq this week alone. This week, forces launched strikes on bases near Grear Village in Syria and downed two drone attacks targeting troops in Iraq.

Meanwhile, US troops are still in Iraq in an advisory capacity, as part of an agreement to formally end the combat mission against ISIS.

Read the full story here

IN THE PRESS FOR MONDAY

WHAT WE READ

That’s all for today! Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. See you on Monday.

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