Rep. Gallego says Arizona Air Force troops would likely be deployed to countries near Ukraine

Feb 1, 2022, 1:00 PM

(Facebook Photo/Davis-Monthan Air Force Base)...

(Facebook Photo/Davis-Monthan Air Force Base)

(Facebook Photo/Davis-Monthan Air Force Base)

PHOENIX — Rep. Ruben Gallego believes that if Arizona Air Force troops are deployed to Europe in the event Russia invades Ukraine, it would likely be to nearby countries with treaty obligations.

Gallego, who was part of a congressional delegation that visited Ukraine in December, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday that nearby North Atlantic Treaty Organization members could use reinforcement.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson was one of several military installations the Department of Defense identified Thursday as having troops that could be deployed if Russian forces move into Ukraine.

“I don’t think we should send troops,” Gallego said. “We don’t have any treaty obligation for us to defend Europe with troops.

“I do think we have a treaty obligation to defend other NATO nations that are next to Ukraine, which is probably what the call up is likely to be to make sure that we reinforce those countries.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during last week’s announcement that deployed units could perform tasks including medical support, aviation support, logistics support and combat formations.

Some units from Davis-Monthan are among the 8,500 troops placed on heightened preparedness for deployment.

Russia continues to move forces toward Ukraine and into Belarus, an ally to Ukraine’s north.

There has been growing pessimism in Washington and London about ongoing diplomatic efforts and a belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely mount some sort of invasion in the next several weeks.

“Ukraine is a sovereign, democratic elected government,” Gallego said. “Russia is not. It is going to invade at some point. It seems likely they try to take over the country.

“We have a standard as a country that we should be defending other democracies.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rep. Gallego says Arizona Air Force troops would likely be deployed to countries near Ukraine