US troops depart Fort Bragg for Europe to bolster NATO forces during Ukraine crisis

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US troops depart Fort Bragg for Europe to bolster NATO forces during Ukraine crisis

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps departed Fort Bragg, N.C., on Thursday, as part of a fresh deployment of US forces to Europe to reinforce NATO troops amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Images showed soldiers lining up on a tarmac at the base as they waited to board C-17 transport planes and begin their journey to Poland and Germany.

Of the 2,000 troops deploying from Fort Bragg, 1,700 members of the 82nd Airborne will go to Poland, while 300 from the 18th Airborne Corps will be sent to Germany to take part in “joint task force-capable headquarters,” the Pentagon said.

Another group of 1,000 soldiers already stationed in Germany with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment will be shifted to Romania, where they will join 900 other US troops.

“The United States stands shoulder to shoulder with our NATO allies,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. “The current situation demands that we reinforce the deterrent and defensive posture on NATO’s eastern flank.”

Military members prepare to be deployed to Europe at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Feb. 3, 2022.
Military members prepare to be deployed to Europe at Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg on Feb. 3, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images
US troops deploy for Europe from Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on February 3, 2022.
The White House has said it would put 8,500 military members on “heightened alert.”
AFP via Getty Images
US troops deploy for Europe from Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on February 3, 2022.
A total of 2000 US troops were deployed from Fort Bragg.
AFP via Getty Images
A pair of soldiers wait in the staging area on their way to board a C-17 aircraft in Fort Bragg.
A pair of soldiers wait in the staging area on their way to board a C-17 aircraft at Fort Bragg.
AP

Kirby insisted that the US troop presence isn’t “permanent” but is necessary to counter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s buildup of more than 100,000 Kremlin troops along Ukraine’s eastern border — with up to 30,000 more in Belarus to the north.

“Even over just the last 24 hours, he continues to add [forces] in western Russia and Belarus and … in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic,” Kirby said Wednesday.

“He has shown no signs of being interested or willing to deescalate the tensions, and it’s not just the United States that’s noticed this. Our NATO allies have noticed this.”

Members of the 82nd Airborne will head to Poland and 300 from the 18th Airborne Corps will be sent to Germany.
Members of the 82nd Airborne will head to Poland and 300 from the 18th Airborne Corps will be sent to Germany.
REUTERS
US troops deploy for Europe from Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on February 3, 2022.
Military members line up to board a C-17 transport plane on their way to Europe.
AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Army soldiers from the 18th Airborne Division walk out to a C-17 aircraft as they deploy to Europe on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 from Fort Bragg, N.C.
John Kirby said the US supports its NATO allies as tensions have flared with Russia.
AP
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division gather for a meeting before their deployment.
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division gather for a meeting before their deployment.
REUTERS
U.S. Army soldiers with the 18th Airborne Corps. have their temperature taken as part of a health screening before boarding a plane for deployment to Europe on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 from Fort Bragg,
Soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps conduct a health screening before boarding for deployment.
AP

Last week, the US announced it had put 8,500 forces on “heightened alert” in the event they were needed as part of a 40,000-strong NATO Response Force.

NATO is also ramping up its presence in Eastern Europe, with member nations sending additional ships, fighter jets and troops.

“I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said​ in a statement last month.

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division line up to board an aircraft.
Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division line up to board an aircraft.
REUTERS
Members of the 18th Airborne Corps play cards while waiting to board for deployment in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Feb. 3, 2022.
The US is sending troops to Europe to reinforce its NATO allies’ troops.
AP
Members of the 18th Airborne Division are weight checked with their equipment before boarding a C-17 aircraft.
Members of the 18th Airborne Division are weight checked with their equipment before boarding a C-17 aircraft.
AP
Troops of the 18th Airborne Division prepare their gear before boarding for deployment.
Troops of the 18th Airborne Division prepare their gear before boarding for deployment.
AP
U.S. Army soldiers from the 18th Airborne Division board a C-17 aircraft as they deploy to Europe, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 from Fort Bragg, N.C.
Kirby claims the US troops being sent over won’t be permanently stationed in Europe.
AP
NATO has welcomed US army deployments into Europe.
The US sending troops comes after Russia has stationed 30,000 in Belarus.
REUTERS

“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance,” he added. “We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defen​s​e​.”

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