Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Sending 3,000 More Troops to Poland

U.S. Army soldiers with their gear head to an awaiting bus Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 at Fort Bragg, N.C., as troops from the 82nd Airborne are deployed to the Middle East as reinforcements in the volatile aftermath of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Chris Seward/AP Photo

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, at the direction of President Joe Biden, has ordered an additional 3,000 American troops to Poland amid a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a senior defense official.

“At the direction of the President, Secretary Austin today ordered to Poland the remaining 3,000 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Bragg, N.C. These troops will depart Fort Bragg over the next couple days. They are expected to be in place by early next week,” the official said in a statement.

The 3,000 troops are an addition to the approximately 1,700 ordered to Poland and 300 to Germany on February 2.

The official added, “These additional deployments are temporary in nature, meant to supplement for a brief time the more than 80,000 U.S. troops already in Europe on rotational and permanent orders.”

Biden has emphasized that U.S. troops will not deploy to Ukraine, where there are already several hundred U.S. troops advising Ukrainian forces.

However, the forces could assist with an evacuation of American citizens from Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The defense official said the roughly 5,000 forces deploying to the region “comprise a highly mobile and flexible force, capable of multiple missions.”

“They are being deployed to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO’s eastern flank, train with host-nation forces, and contribute to a wide range of contingencies. They will report to Gen. Tod Wolters, Commander, U.S. European Command,” the official said.

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