Ukraine Escalation: US Deploys Nuclear-Ready Bombers to UK

The U.S. Air Force deployed four B-52 strategic nuclear bombers to the U.K. beginning on Thursday, escalating an ongoing crisis surrounding a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, Common Dreams reported.

The bombers, sent from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, can carry precision-guided missiles and nuclear weapons.

The U.S. military attempted to downplay the deployment to Royal Air Force Fairford in Gloucestershire, England, saying it was a “long-planned Bomber Task Force mission.” However, one U.K. defense source told The Telegraph, “Is this aligned to current tensions? Yes and no.”

A former British intelligence official told the outlet that the Pentagon could launch airstrikes from the Fairford airbase.

“From Fairford, they could operate against a range of targets: troop concentrations in southern Russia and Belarus, Moscow/St. Petersburg, even the naval bases in the White Sea,” the former official told The Telegraph. “In 1991, they hit Baghdad from Fairford, flew on to Diego Garcia, refueled and rearmed, bombed Baghdad again on the way back, and returned to Fairford.”

The U.S. is also deploying 3,000 additional troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Poland. The news came after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of 1,700 troops from the same unit earlier in the week, according to ABC News.

“At the direction of the President, Secretary Austin today ordered to Poland the remaining 3,000 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Bragg, N.C.,” said a senior U.S. defense official. “These troops will depart Fort Bragg over the next couple of days. They are expected to be in place by early next week.”

“They are being deployed to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO’s eastern flank, train with host-nation forces, and contribute to a wide range of contingencies,” the senior defense official added.

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