Defense

Pentagon deploying 3,000 troops to allies in Europe amid tensions with Russia

The Pentagon is deploying and repositioning over 3,000 troops to bolster Eastern European allies, the first such movement as the U.S. looks to bolster NATO’s capabilities in the region amid growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Defense Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that the agency will deploy 2,000 troops stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. to Germany and Poland “in the next few days.” 

Separately, an additional 1,000 troops currently stationed in Germany will be repositioned to Romania.

“I want to be very clear about something: These are not permanent moves,” Kirby said.

“They are moves designed to respond to the current security environment. Moreover, these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are going to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies,” he continued.

News of the deployment was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Russia has amassed upward of 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, and the Biden administration is now warning that a military incursion of Ukraine is imminent.

The Pentagon last month put 8,500 troops on high alert to deploy, largely to bolster NATO’s response force — a multinational force of about 40,000 troops that can deploy on short notice. Kirby said these troops have not been deployed and remain on high alert status.

President Biden said on Friday that he planned to send a small number of forces to Eastern Europe in the “near term,” adding that he’d send “not too many.”

However, the president has been clear that no U.S. forces will be deployed directly to Ukraine. Similarly, NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said last month that no forces from the alliance will be deployed to Kyiv.

The forces being deployed to Germany and Poland are comprised of 1,700 forces from the from the 82nd Airborne Division and 300 forces 18th Airborne Corps, according to a fact sheet released from the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, the troops being repositioned to Romania from Germany are part of an Infantry Stryker squadron, which is designed to deploy in short order. Those forces will augment more than 900 U.S. service members already in rotation in Romania.

Kirby said the troops are being sent under bilateral agreements with Poland, Germany, and Romania, and will remain under U.S command.

—Updated at 11:29 a.m.

Tags Department of Defense DOD Europe Joe Biden John Kirby Pentagon Poland Russia Russia troop deployment U.S. Army U.S. military Ukraine Ukraine
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