(NewsNation Now) — The Pentagon is sending another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join 1,700 others who already are assembling there in a demonstration of American commitment to NATO allies worried at the prospect of Russia invading Ukraine.
The soldiers are the remaining elements of an infantry brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and are being deployed from Fort Bragg. Because they are an immediate response force, their units are always prepared to deploy anywhere in the world within about 15 hours.
“It was kind of hard a couple hours ago, like the last call when I gave the goodbye. Just cause it was real, I didn’t know the next chance I was going to get to talk to them,” said Pfc. Kyle Johnson.
The American troops are to train with host-nation forces but not enter Ukraine for any purpose. Their mission will be to train and provide deterrence but not to engage in combat in Ukraine.
“I feel pretty good, I have enough confidence in my company and my leadership to get me back so I’m not too really worried about anything,” Staff Sgt. Jeanetta Wani said.
The U.S. already has about 80,000 troops throughout Europe at permanent stations and on rotational deployments.
In addition to the U.S. troops deploying to Poland, about 1,000 U.S. soldiers based in Germany are shifting to Romania in a similar mission of reassurance to a NATO ally. Also, 300 soldiers of an 18th Airborne Corps headquarters unit have arrived in Germany, commanded by Lt. Gen. Michael E. Kurilla.
This comes as Russia said Tuesday at some units participating in military exercises would begin returning to their bases, adding to glimmers of hope that the Kremlin may not be planning to invade Ukraine imminently. But Russia gave no details on where the troops were pulling back from, or how many.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.