Ukraine urges calm as US puts 8,500 troops on heightened alert

The US and Europe are trying to present a united front in the face of Russia’s buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border. The United States has put 8,500 troops on heightened alert – ready to respond if NATO decides to deploy forces. The Pentagon says no final decisions were made on deployment, but NATO has announced that it is sending more ships and fighter jets to boost defenses in eastern Europe. In recent weeks, Russia has massed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border. Moscow denies it is planning an invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged western nations to remain united – and calm – amid heightened tensions with Russia. After meeting with his national security advisors on Monday, President Zelenskiy addressed the Ukrainian public in a televised speech. He said that his office was working for a peaceful de-escalation of the situation with Russia. He stressed the situation was under control and called for the nation not to panic. That sentiment was echoed in a separate statement by Ukraine’s head of security council Oleksiy Danilov