The first U.S. troops sent to reinforce NATO allies in East Europe amid growing tensions at the Ukraine border, landed at a military base near the Poland-Ukraine border Saturday, a Polish military spokesman confirmed.
“As announced, the first elements of the brigade battle group from the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army have arrived in Poland,” the spokesperson said Saturday.
The U.S. Army has confirmed that the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue, had departed to Poland, as preparations for the second deployment of about 1,700 U.S. service members continued at the base.
President Joe Biden approved an additional 3,000 troops to be deployed to Poland, Germany, and Romania Wednesday.
“These are not permanent moves,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Wednesday. “These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine.”
The move came amid growing fears of Russian military aggression towards Ukraine after nearly 130,000 Russian troops had been massed along the Ukrainian border.
The U.S. Department of State previously put 8,500 troops on high alert for potential deployment to the NATO allies in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met in-person Friday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss a multitude of issues, including the growing tensions between Russia and the West that followed the escalation at the Ukrainian border.
The meeting of the world leaders resulted in a joint statement announcing China’s support of Russian opposition to further NATO expansion.