A ‘couple hundred’ U.S. troops arrive in Poland

Associated Press/Czarek Sokolowski

A “couple hundred” of the 1,700 troops the U.S. military is sending to Europe have arrived in Poland, with the rest to flow into the country in the coming days, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said Monday.  

The troops are being deployed to Poland and Germany from the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and are “only just now arriving on station and are getting set up,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters. 

The American troops first landed near the Poland-Ukraine border on Saturday amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Another 1,000 troops have been repositioned from Germany to Romania. 

Once they get settled in, the troops will begin to conduct exercises with their partners in Romania and Poland, Kirby added. 

The deployment and repositioning of troops is meant to bolster the capabilities of the NATO military alliance in the area as more than 100,000 Kremlin troops have been placed near Ukraine’s border in Belarus and Russia. 

Western officials fear an invasion into Ukraine could happen soon, as they “continue to see sizable forces continue to be added to the forces that [Russia President Vladimir Putin] has arrayed in the south and Crimea and alongside Ukraine’s borders, including and Belarus,” Kirby said. 

The situation has grown so tense that President Biden on Monday advised Americans who are in Ukraine to leave the country, citing the risk of violence in the case of a Russian invasion. 

“I think it would be wise to leave the country,” Biden said, clarifying he was not referring to U.S. diplomatic staff. 

“I would hate to see them get caught in a cross-fire if in fact [Russia] did invade. And there’s no need for that, and if I had anyone there I’d say leave,” Biden said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

At the Pentagon, Kirby said that while the U.S. military over the weekend observed Putin adding to his forces, it has not seen any troops directly aimed at NATO’s eastern flank. 

“He’s well north of 100,000 and it continues to grow, but what’s important is not just the numbers, it’s the capabilities and what we see is that he is really putting in place robust what we would call combined arms capabilities in Belarus and along that border with Ukraine in Russia,” Kirby said.

“That means not just infantry or tracked vehicles but artillery and long-range fires and air and missile defense, as well as special operations,” he added.  

“He has a full suite available to him and it continues to grow every day, including just over the last two days.”

Tags 82nd Airborne Division Joe Biden John Kirby Ukraine-Russia conflict US troops Vladimir Putin

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