The US Finally Deploys Troops to the Frontlines

Biden authorized the mobilization of 3,000 US soldiers to Poland, Germany, as well as Romania on Wednesday, in a new sign of support for friends as Russia expands its force near Ukraine’s frontiers.

Additional Units on Standby

Many more soldiers in the United States and Europe are on alert in case Russia tries to gather fighting forces.

Around 2,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will deploy to Poland, as well as Germany; another 1,000 from a Stryker unit currently in Germany will move to Romania.

On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told journalists, “These troops are not going to engage in Ukraine. We’re saying we’ll be willing to defend our NATO partners.”

Around 1,700 troops will be dispatched to Poland in a mobilization that Polish Secretary of Military Defense Mariusz Baszczak described as “a significant gesture of support in reaction to the crisis in Ukraine.”

The inflow will be in addition to the 900 US troops currently stationed in Romania, as well as the 4,000 troops stationed in Poland.

US authorities “welcome” French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s decision to deploy a few hundred soldiers to Romania, according to Kirby.

Kirby added the US will continue to work with allies in the region to ensure that their armies “complement each other” in operations. It’s possible these aren’t the final steps.

Last week, Defense Minister Lloyd Austin instructed 8,500 troops stationed in the United States to be ready for immediate deployment to supplement the 40,000-big NATO Response Force that has yet to be constituted.

More Troops Coming Soon

The units told to leave late Wednesday are not among the 8,500; many more troop transfers within Europe and the United States are expected in the coming weeks, according to Kirby.

Romania has long been an important part of NATO’s Black Sea operations, housing an Aegis Ashore missile shield designed to intercept Iranian intercontinental missiles launched at Europe.

In Poland, a secondary Aegis Ashore, armed with protective SM-3 missiles, is being built and will be operational this year.

Moscow has long complained about the radar and missile stations, arguing they could be easily reconfigured to launch offensive missiles into Russia. This allegation is disputed by the US and NATO.

Kirby said papers purporting to represent the US and NATO responses to Russian requests released to the El Pais magazine on Wednesday were genuine; they prove America and Europe are responding to Russia in lockstep.

According to the documents, the US is open to talking with Russia about “a transparency system to ensure the presence of Tomahawk ballistic missiles at Aegis Ashore installations in Romania, as well as Poland.”

When asked about talks with Russia about missile defense system sites, Kirby said the US is “prepared to examine resolving mutual security issues on the Continent of Europe, with an eye towards proportionality.”