3,000 Soldiers Deploying Amid Russia Tensions

3,000 Soldiers Deploying Amid Russia Tensions

Stryker brigade
Photo by: U.S. Army/Georgios Moumoulidis

About 3,000 soldiers are deploying to bolster America’s Eastern European allies as Russia continues to mass troops on its border with Ukraine, the Pentagon announced Feb. 2.

About 1,000 soldiers from a Stryker squadron already in Germany “will reposition to Romania in the coming days,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. These soldiers belong to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which is stationed in Vilseck, Germany, according to the Pentagon.

The soldiers will bolster the 900 U.S. troops already in Romania, Kirby said.

Additionally, about 2,000 soldiers from 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps, both from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will deploy to Poland and Germany. About 1,700 are from an infantry brigade combat team and key enablers from the 82nd Airborne Division, and they are expected to go to Poland. The XVIII Airborne Corps will send a joint task force-capable headquarters of about 300 people to Germany, Kirby said.

These deployments come amid stalled talks with Russia over its military buildup at its border with Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on its border, and tensions have soared over concerns of an invasion, with smaller NATO countries worrying they could be next, according to the AP.

These deployments are an “unmistakable” signal of America’s commitment to NATO, Kirby said. He also emphasized that the deployments are not “permanent moves.”

Additionally, “these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are there to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies,” he said.

In addition to these new deployments, more than 8,500 U.S. troops remain on heightened alert, Kirby said. Those troops were put on alert Jan. 24 as the Pentagon prepared for possible contingencies, and most of them are expected to support the NATO Response Force if it is activated by the alliance.

The NATO Response Force is a multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special operations forces that the alliance can deploy quickly, and the U.S. contributes to it along with other NATO nations. 

It has not been activated, Kirby said Feb. 2.

Pentagon leaders have continued to call for diplomacy. “There is no reason this situation has to devolve into conflict,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a Jan. 28 briefing with reporters. He added that conflict is not inevitable. “There’s still time and space for diplomacy,” he said.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley echoed Austin’s remarks. “Ukraine has the right to be independent. We strongly encourage Russia to stand down,” he said.