Alert levels at US bases in Europe raised over Russian threats.

U.S. defense officials raised security alert levels at military bases in Europe over the weekend in response to vague threats from the Kremlin over Ukraine's use of long-range weapons on Russian soil, according to U.S. and Western officials. extended to

Officials said no specific intelligence had been gathered about possible Russian attacks on U.S. bases. Any such attack by Russia, whether overt or covert, would significantly escalate its war in Ukraine.

Russia is stepping up sabotage operations in Europe, hoping to disrupt the flow of materials to Ukraine. So far, no U.S. bases have been targeted in the attacks, but U.S. officials say raising the alert level will help ensure service members are on the lookout.

Throughout the war, US officials have speculated that President Vladimir V. Putin is reluctant to extend the war beyond Ukraine's borders.

But according to US officials, the increase in US and European aid – and the easing of restrictions on how the material is used – has raised concerns in Moscow. Russia's recent statements have alarmed some American and European officials.

Ukraine is using US long-range missiles known as ATACMS to strike deep into occupied Crimea. The US has also said that Ukraine could use them in cross-border attacks on Russian military targets.

Attacks on Crimea forced Russia to recall US Ambassador Lynne M. Tracy to the State Department. And on June 24, a Kremlin spokesman said that any direct U.S. involvement in a war that resulted in Russian deaths “will certainly have consequences.”

The US decision to loosen restrictions on the supply and use of long-range weapons follows Britain's decision to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow cruise missiles. Kiev used these weapons to target military targets in Crimea.

Attacks with Western weapons, particularly in Crimea, have been effective, damaging Russian military logistics centers and further weakening Russia's Black Sea fleet.

But the success of the attacks has Moscow looking for ways to prevent further attacks.

In recent months, Russia has stepped up its series of sabotage attacks across Europe. The campaign, run by Russian military intelligence, has sometimes appeared out of hand, including a fire at an Ikea store. But Nato has repeatedly warned of such incidents, and Britain has expelled a Russian defense attaché after a fire broke out in a London warehouse.

The military bases, which provide training, intelligence and other support for Ukraine, could be a logical target later, even if there is no specific intelligence that Russia is considering such an attack.

Protecting military bases and the people who live and work on them falls under what the Pentagon commonly calls force protection. Beyond things like simple fences or guards protecting base gates, that consists of a series of increasingly limited security measures that can be taken in proportion to a threat.

Most U.S. military installations around the world are at the second-lowest setting, called Force Protection Condition “Alpha,” which directs officials to check their communications equipment and to screen vehicles and people entering the bases. Measures such as increased spot checks are included.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the “delta” state, when an attack is imminent or underway. This level closes non-essential operations such as base schools, directs all vehicle searches at entrances, adds more guards and severely restricts the movement of almost everyone on a given base. .

As of now, US military bases in Europe are in “Charlie” status, the second-highest level and the highest level of readiness that can reasonably be maintained for an extended period of time.

Over the weekend, Cmdr. U.S. European Command spokesman Daniel Day said the military is asking personnel to “stay alert and be alert at all times.”

In a statement on Monday, European Command said officials would not elaborate on measures to protect their operational security.

“Our increased vigilance is not related to a single threat,” the command said in a statement, “but there is an abundance of caution due to a combination of factors that could potentially affect the safety and security of U.S. service members in the European theater.” “

Eric Schmidt Cooperation reporting.

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