Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday ordered another contingent of Army soldiers to Poland as the White House said Russia could mount an invasion of Ukraine at any moment.
The Pentagon said Secretary Austin ordered the deployment of another 3,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C. They will depart within days and are expected to arrive in Poland by early next week, officials said Friday.
In Poland, they will join an earlier group of about 1,700 paratroopers who were ordered there on Feb. 2.
The deployment of U.S. troops, including a squadron of European-based Stryker combat vehicles being sent to Romania, is intended to reassure NATO allies nervous about the more than 100,000 Russian troops arrayed along its border with Ukraine.
The 82nd Airborne troops are commanded by Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue. He was the last American soldier to board a C-17 aircraft at Kabul airport during the evacuation that ended the two-decade war in Afghanistan.
Pentagon officials also said about 300 troops from the headquarters element of the 18th Airborne Corps have arrived in Germany. It is led by Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla who was in Washington only days ago testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee about his upcoming promotion to four-star general as head of U.S. Central Command.
“These additional deployments are temporary in nature [and] meant to supplement for a brief time the more than 80,000 U.S. troops already in Europe in rotational and permanent orders,” Pentagon officials said.