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Thousands of soldiers deployed in Europe amid war in Ukraine to be relieved by new units

More than 10,000 military personnel sent to Europe during the Ukraine war will return home as the military sends new units to relieve them, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The full rotation of about 10,500 troops from countries such as Germany, Poland and Romania will likely take a few months, according to the Pentagon. About 8,400 of the troops currently heading to bolster the defenses of NATO allies will come from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, a said the army.

The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas will also deploy and relieve other soldiers as part of a regular rotation that has existed to deter Russia since before its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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“These deployments are one-for-one unit replacements, which will leave our overall force position in the region – approximately 100,000 – unchanged,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing. hurry. “Replaced units will return to their home positions after an appropriate rotation of responsibilities.”

The new deployments are a sign that the Pentagon and President Joe Biden’s administration have no immediate plans to mitigate the response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s floundering invasion, which has outraged and united the alliance but does not show no sign of ending.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the moves, which come more than three months after the first deployment of additional troops due to the conflict.

A first group of 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps were sent to Europe on February 2 to show their strength among Western nations – weeks before Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine, a former soviet republic on the border of his country.

After the invasion, more US troops – including an infantry battalion based in Italy, F-35 Lightning II fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters – were transferred to countries in Eastern Europe. such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which form the border of the NATO Alliance.

Biden has repeatedly said that US troops will not fight in Ukraine, and the forces in Europe have been largely a symbolic gesture and a warning for Russia to stay out of NATO countries. About 160 members of the Florida National Guard trained Ukrainians in Germany on how to use the flood of weapons and equipment, including artillery, radar and drones, from the United States and ‘other countries.

Russia now appears to be bogged down in the eastern region of Donbass after failing earlier in the war to take the capital kyiv. Ukrainian forces put up strong resistance using US M777 howitzers.

On Friday, Austin spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu for the first time since February and urged Moscow to call for a ceasefire in the war.

Here are the new rotations announced by the Army:

  • 4,200 troops from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division will replace the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

  • 4,200 troops from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division will replace the 1st Armored Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

  • 500 members of the 101st Airborne Division headquarters will replace the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters.

  • The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade will replace the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade as part of the Atlantic Resolve rotational force.

— Travis Tritten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.

Related: More troops heading to Eastern Europe as Biden says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has begun

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