United States will send 7,000 additional troops to Germany to reassure NATO allies amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported late Thursday, citing a senior U.S. defense official.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment at the direction of President Joe Biden.
"This would comprise an armored brigade combat team with associated capabilities and enablers. They will deploy to Germany to reassure NATO Allies, deter Russian aggression and be prepared to support a range of requirements in the region. We expect them to depart in the coming days," said the official.
Ukraine has lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site after a fierce battle with Russian troops, the Ukrainian military and an adviser to the presidential office said earlier.
Parts of the southern Kherson region and Hostomel airfield, northwest of the capital of Kyiv, were also reported to have been captured by the Russian forces.
Russian troops took over Chernobyl while Ukrainian forces battled them on three sides on Thursday after Moscow mounted an assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since World War II.
The Russian military launched the much-anticipated invasion of Ukraine earlier on the same day, as President Vladimir Putin ignored international condemnation and sanctions and threatened other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to "consequences you have never seen."
Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa as world leaders decried the start of a Russian invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Russian military columns crossed the border into Ukraine toward Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, the Ukrainian border guard service said, in what appeared to be an assault along the entire border with Russia.
Seven soldiers died in Russian airstrikes in the first few hours of the invasion, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said.
The head of the Ukrainian military said Thursday he had received orders from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to repel the Russian invasion of his country.
"The supreme commander the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave orders to inflict maximum losses against the aggressor," Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny said.
Earlier on Thursday, Zelenskyy introduced martial law, saying Russia had targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure and explosions were heard across the country. Zelenskyy said he had just spoken to President Joe Biden and the United States was rallying international support for Ukraine. He urged Ukrainians to stay home and not to panic.