By Kristina Wong - 04/22/14 01:39 PM EDT
The U.S. will send roughly 600 soldiers to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia over the coming days for training exercises, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
“It’s more than symbology,” said press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby of the moves near Ukraine and Russia. “[It’s] real infantry training, and that’s not insignificant.”
A contingent of about 150 U.S. paratroopers based in Vincenza, Italy, should arrive in Poland on Wednesday.
All the forces should be in place in about a week, Kirby said.
The forces will augment previously planned U.S. bilateral military exercises already scheduled to take place in the Baltic states. There is no timeline as to when the additional troops would leave.
The deployment will be the “first in a series” of expanded land training activities, Kirby said.