The United States is sending about 600 paratroopers to Poland and the Baltic states in an expansion meant to underscore its commitment to NATO allies as a result of escalating tensions in Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said 150 paratroopers based in Italy will arrive Wednesday in Poland. He said another 450 paratroopers will be deployed to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
The bilateral exercises will last about a month. He said new troops will then rotate in for fresh exercises throughout the rest of the year.
Kirby said placing troops on the ground is more than a symbolic gesture. He called for Russia to remove its forces from the border with Ukraine and respect Ukrainian sovereignty.