US troops land near Poland-Ukraine border amid tensions with Russia
A Polish military spokesperson announced that the first American troops landed near the Poland-Ukraine border on Saturday amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.
“As announced, the first elements of the brigade battle group from the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army have arrived in Poland,” the Polish military spokesman said, according to the news outlet.
The troops landed in the Rzeszow-Jasionka airport on Saturday morning, with a Polish military source saying that they were U.S. chain of command personnel, according to the newswire.
Separately on Friday, American troops also began arriving in Germany, Reuters reported.
“We can confirm these arrivals are part of the forces announced by the Pentagon Wednesday,” a U.S. European Command spokesperson confirmed to The Hill. “Collectively, this force is trained and equipped for a variety of missions to deter aggression and to reassure and defend our Allies. We have been working in close coordination with our Allies in Poland and Germany to set the stage for these deployments and arrivals, and we appreciate their support.”
The news of the American troop arrivals come as Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced on Wednesday that roughly 2,000 troops would be deployed to Poland and Germany from Fort Bragg, N.C., in the coming days while another 1,000 troops would be repositioned from Germany to Romania.
The deployment and repositioning of troops is to bolster the capabilities of the NATO military alliance in the area.
However, Kirby stressed the troops would not be fighting in Ukraine, adding “They are going to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies.”
The development comes amid simmering tensions between Russia and Ukraine as the former has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The international community remains concerned that Russia is readying itself to attack the former Soviet Union nation, though Russia has denied those allegations.
Following classified briefings on Thursday, lawmakers braced for the growing possibility of an invasion into Ukraine, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) calling it a “near certainty.”
“This is the most significant threat in Europe since 1945. It’s just that simple,” Rubio said to reporters.
The Hill has reached out to Fort Bragg for comment.
— Updated at 2:45 p.m.
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