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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.