More US troops may head to Europe amid Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pentagon says

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The 14,000 U.S. troops activated in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may not be the last, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

The United States has activated thousands of troops to reassure its allies since the beginning of this month, including an as-yet-undetermined number who will deploy in support of the NATO Response Force, activated for the first time in its history on Thursday .

“I would not rule out, in the coming days, further repositioning in Europe, if appropriate,” Kirby said.

In addition to the 80,000 permanently stationed forces, the United States has committed 12,000 troops to the United States – and another 2,000 based in Germany, Italy and Greece – who will be stationed in NATO partner countries on along Russia’s western border, as well as attack helicopters and fighter jets.

The last group left Fort Stewart, Ga., on Sunday with members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe announced on Thursday that the United States has committed 7,000 troops to the NATO Response Force, which will deploy to Germany but eventually disperse to other countries further afield. late.

The Pentagon has since said it cannot say whether all 7,000 will be committed to NATO versus unilateral deployments.

“I don’t have any updates for you on the NATO Response Force or the troops we’ve contributed to,” Kirby said.

There are approximately between 3,000 and 5,000 additional troops in the United States on heightened alert, Kirby told the Military Times on Friday.

“There are no additional requests for allied support that I am following up,” he said Monday.

On the whole, troops activated in Europe spend their time training with the forces of their host nation. In Poland, where 4,700 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division are on the ground, preparations have been made to help Americans fleeing Ukraine into Poland.

“In the last 24 hours, they may have seen a handful of Americans looking for a little help,” a senior defense official told reporters on Monday. “And by a bit, I mean food, water, a chance to sit down, internet capability to do to make flight plans, that sort of thing.”

While US troops remain out of the fighting, the US government has continued to deliver aid to Ukraine.

“It continues to arrive and continues to reach them, including since the last day or so,” the official said.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at the Military Times. It covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership, and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT

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