U.S. troops and military vehicles arrived in Romania late Wednesday in an open-ended deployment meant to reassure allies worried about Russia’s military buildup around Ukraine.
Romania’s defense ministry said earlier the contingent would cross the border from Hungary at about 10 pm (2000 GMT) local time.
They will travel from Arad-Deva-Ramnicu Valcea-Pitesti-Bucharest and then Mihail Kogalniceanu on the Black Sea.
Romanian military police will accompany the convoy.
2nd Cavalry Regiment
Earlier Wednesday, strykers and soldiers from the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment and combat support vehicles lined up at the Army airfield in Vilseck, Germany.
Some 1,000 American troops are preparing to head to Romania
The Vilseck-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldiers will remain in Romania to beef up NATO’s eastern flank as long as the mission requires, Col. Joe Ewers, the regiment’s commander told Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military news organization.
“We will assure our allies, deter our adversaries and stand ready to defend our alliance,” col. ewers was quoted saying.
The first soldiers from Vilseck have already arrived in Romania. The rest of the contingent is expected to arrive in the coming days.
Russia has moved an estimated 130,000 troops and an assortment of advanced weaponry near Ukraine’s borders in the north, east and south.
Military officials have emphasized that the forces being sent to Romania and Poland are tasked with reassuring allies worried about potential Russian aggression.
It is also conducting naval exercises in the Black Sea, which borders Ukraine.
Ukraine announced its own series of military drills beginning Thursday.
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered the repositioning of 3,000 troops in response to the Kremlin’s buildup.
The Pentagon has sent 1,700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to Poland to reinforce defenses.
Despite a change in the security landscape in Europe with events in and around Ukraine, the regiment’s mission in Romania is expected to resemble familiar exercises along NATO’s eastern flank, Ewers said.
Ewers said the 1,000 soldiers will operate from various military sites around Romania as they train with allies. The regiment will engage in “tough, realistic training,” he said.
The U.S. already has 900 troops in Romania carrying out a wide range of missions.
Much of their activity is centered on Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base at the Black Sea.
Missile defense site
Deveselu, Romania, hosts a U.S. Navy Aegis Ashore missile defense site, and the Air Force operates a drone facility at Campia Turzii, a Romanian air base.
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