News / Europe

US Army Paratroopers Deploy to Poland, Baltics

FILE - U.S. soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiments of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Teams.
FILE - U.S. soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiments of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Teams.
Victor Beattie
U.S. Army paratroopers begin joint exercises with their Polish counterparts Wednesday in Poland with additional companies deployed in the three Baltic States in what a Pentagon spokesman called a “tangible expression” of the U.S. commitment to Europe.  Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said the decision follows what he called Russia’s “aggression” in Ukraine and is a way to reassure U.S. allies and partners.
 
Kirby said a company of about 150 members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Italy, will be part of a “rotational” U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe in the wake of tensions over Ukraine.
 
"This exercise is the first in a series of expanded U.S. land force training activities in Poland and the Baltic region that are scheduled to take place in the next few months and beyond. Additional companies from the 173rd will move in the coming days to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for similar exercises," said Kirby.
 
Initially, some 600 troops will take part in what Kirby called a “persistent rotational presence” that will last about one month. He added that fresh troops will then move in, and this presence could last a year or more.
 
The spokesman said the United States is in consultation with its NATO allies and the force could be expanded in size and scope of countries involved. He also stressed that the exercises were bilateral and run by the participating countries, not NATO.
 
"Since Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, we have constantly been looking at ways to reassure our allies and partners, and these exercises, two points, they’re bilateral; they’re between the United States and the country in question. It’s not a NATO exercise and, number two; it’s in response to that need by Secretary Hagel reaching out and talking to [Supreme Allied Commander, Europe] General Breedlove, talking to [Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman] General Dempsey and looking for ways we can constantly reassure our allies and partners of our commitment to Article 5 to the alliance, but also to them and their security," said Kirby.
 
Kirby said that while these exercises were added because of tensions in Ukraine, the U.S. unit involved has worked with all four European countries in the past.
 
The Pentagon spokesman said the message of these exercises is an explicit one to the four countries involved, that the United States is serious about its obligations under Article 5 of NATO, even though they are not NATO exercises.
 
"If there is a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message that we take our obligations very, very seriously on the continent of Europe," said Kirby.
 
Kirby said Russia has done nothing to de-escalate the situation or make Ukraine and Europe any more stable. He said what would be helpful is if Russia would remove its forces from Ukraine’s borders and take concrete steps to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.
 
The Latvian government welcomed the Pentagon announcement, calling it “a fast and practical response.” Lithuania’s president said the deployments will “strengthen our readiness for collective defense and add to ensuring the safety of our people.”  Estonia’s defense minister said it will “significantly” increase his country’s security.
 
Kirby said the United States is encouraging its NATO partners to look for opportunities to take similar actions for each other.
 
He also said the United States is providing more than $14 million in non-lethal aid to Ukraine’s armed forces and state border guard.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alfie from: Boston
April 25, 2014 2:43 PM
One can only hope that the symbolism involved in this dispatch of 600 U.S. paras to four different nations remains another idiotic example of Obama commander-in-chiefness. This brings to mind the small garrison that the Allies kept in Berlin as they were threatened by Soviets that surrounded that German city during the Cold War. It is nonsense.

by: Nathan from: Florida
April 24, 2014 8:27 PM
Meanbill
You are clueless. I was in Iraq and Afghanistan and we were not hiding. Please do us all a favor and keep your ignorant, misinformed comments to yourself . The only one hiding was you on your couch.

by: Chris from: Ontario, Canada
April 23, 2014 2:16 PM
They must send a full brigade. Not just a couple small units. We must put at the very least 20,000 on a permanent base. Pull them from Germany and start ratcheting up their mobile units, tanks and carriers. Put few Hundred General Dynamics Stryker's armed vehicles and an additional 100 fighters would help too.

Russia isn't going to stop with Crimea. They are completely in control of all east Ukraine. They just signed the Geneva agreement to allow their Spetzna groups to plant Right Sector fake items and kill pro Russians for the grounds to send in forces.

It was the Russians that killed in Kiev and it's ALL RUSSIA right now raiding building after building, then leaving then to their local paid puppets.

Don't believe my every word go watch Vice news Russian Roulette they have 28 episodes of video shot live thoughout the Ukraine unrest.

by: meanbill from: USA
April 23, 2014 9:41 AM
In response to the Russian threat in Ukraine, the US sends a (few hundred US troops) to Poland, for training exercises? -- One must wonder _ will they build those 30 foot high blast-proof walls to hide behind, like they did in Iraq and Afghanistan? _ and send some killer drones, to target certain individuals? NATO is powerless to do anything to stop the Russian advance in Ukraine _ and NATO refuses to let the opposing Ukrainians have honest negotiations with each other, on the future of Ukraine? -- (WHY?)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs