The United States will deploy 3,000 additional troops in Poland, which will be added to the 1,700 it had previously announced, in the face of a possible Russian attack on Ukraine, a senior defense official told Efe on Friday. The deployment order was given this Friday by defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, under the instructions of U.S. President Joe Biden.
Precisely, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the National Security Adviser of the White House, Jake Sullivan, warned today of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine during the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which will last until February 20. The U.S. soldiers traveling to Poland are part of the combat team of the 82nd Airborne Infantry Brigade, which is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Those servicemen will depart from Fort Bragg “over the next couple of days” and are expected to occupy their positions in Poland early next week, the source said. They will join the 1,700 U.S. troops the Pentagon had announced earlier this month it would send to Polish territory, of which two-thirds have already reached their destination.
On February 2, the U.S. Department of Defense reported sending 3,000 troops to Allied countries in Eastern Europe: 1,000 to Romania, 1,700 to Poland, and 300 to Germany. All of them will be under U.S. command, not NATO. The Defense official said Friday that the sum of all the additional troops – those announced today and last day 2, which in total are 6,000 – constitute “a highly movable and flexible force, capable of many missions.”
“They are being deployed to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO’s eastern flank, train host nations’ forces and contribute to a wide range of contingencies,” the source listed. The official added that the deployment of those 5,000 troops is temporary and is a complement to the more than 80,000 U.S. uniformed personnel who are in Europe on permanent or rotating missions.
Apart from sending those soldiers, the US has 8,500 soldiers on its territory on “high alert”, who are ready to be mobilized, and who in case of deployment would do so under the command of NATO.
One of the officials described it as an important deployment. The soldiers join the 8,500 troops already on alert to deploy to Europe in case of need and the nearly 3,000 U.S. troops the government had said earlier this month it would deploy to Poland and Romania. President Joe Biden met with his national security advisers in the White House crisis room Thursday night to discuss Russia’s ongoing military buildup around Ukraine.
Russia has already concentrated more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, and this week has begun joint military exercises in neighboring Belarus and naval drills in the Black Sea. Moscow denies it has plans to invade Ukraine but says it could take unspecified “military-technical” actions unless a number of demands are met, including NATO’s pledges never to admit Ukraine and to withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe.