As Russia defeats Ukraine, NATO countries rush in javelins and darts

General Milley also visited a training ground near Nowa Deba in southern Poland, where paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne trained with Polish troops. The coordination is part of Mr Biden’s effort to reassure Eastern European allies – and assure Russian President Vladimir V. Putin – that if NATO does not send troops to Ukraine, which is not not a member of the alliance, it will fight any incursion into the territory of a NATO member.

Officials were adamant that NATO was standing up to Mr. Putin. “NATO is more unified than I’ve ever seen NATO unified before,” Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commander of US Army Europe and Africa, told reporters at the training center. “I have been working since I was a second lieutenant in 1988, and I can tell you that I have never seen the determination and practical expression of combat readiness, as I have seen in the ground forces of alliance right now. It’s remarkable.

Shortly after meeting troops at Nowa Deba, General Milley flew by helicopter to Rzeszow, Poland, the headquarters of the 82nd Airborne in the country, which he said was deployed to “deter further territorial aggression by Russia”.

Major General Chris Donahue, who commanded the US evacuation from Afghanistan after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August and is the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne, said the Polish headquarters could temporarily house some 2,500 evacuees from Ukraine. The site, which is in an arena, is intended to serve as a staging ground for evacuees who are citizens of the United States and other NATO countries. Bunk beds filled the room, most of them empty.

Officials said that although there was a deluge of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border, the number of American evacuees was low. Most U.S. citizens who left Ukraine traveled by air or passed through other areas along Ukraine’s borders, officials said.

In an arena operations center, Polish border guards, US intelligence officials, paratroopers and State Department desk officers huddled over maps of Ukraine.

“They were smart to bring in all the US government agencies and international partners working on solutions for Ukraine,” said Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for General Milley.

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