Some US Troops Departing Ukraine Amid Escalating Tension with Russia, Pentagon Confirms

By Allen Zhong
Allen Zhong
Allen Zhong
senior writer
Allen Zhong is a long-time writer and reporter for The Epoch Times. He joined the Epoch Media Group in 2012. His main focus is on U.S. politics.
February 12, 2022 Updated: February 13, 2022

The Department of Defense confirmed Saturday that some U.S. troops are leaving Ukraine.

“Secretary of Defense has ordered the temporary repositioning of Florida National Guard troops out of Ukraine,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby wrote in a Twitter post.

The move was ordered to protect the safety and security of U.S. personnel, but the United States is still “committed to our relationship with the Ukrainian armed forces,” he elaborated.

It’s unclear how many military members are being relocated. Some media outlets reported that 160 members of the Florida National Guard are withdrawing from Ukraine. The Epoch Times can not verify the number independently.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

The Pentagon is moving more troops into Eastern Europe to deal with the potential invasion of Ukraine by Russia—which the Pentagon said can happen in days.

About 1,700 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division are arriving in Poland, the U.S. Army Europe and Africa said Friday.

“At the invitation of our Polish Allies, approximately 1,700 troops from the division continue to arrive in Poland following a Department of Defense announcement earlier this month directing the deployment of U.S. Soldiers to Europe,” the army command said in a statement. “The unit is deploying to enhance our readiness, strengthen our resilience, and if necessary, defend and secure the NATO Alliance.”

A senior administration official also confirmed on Saturday that an additional 3,000 U.S. forces have been deployed to Poland.

It’s unclear if the 1,700 paratroopers are part of the deployment.

Besides the paratroopers, the Department of Defense also announced that a squadron from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, under the command and control of V Corps, will deploy from Vilseck, Germany, to Romania.

It’s unclear how many soldiers the squadron has. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment has 5,000 dragoon soldiers in total in seven subordinate squadrons.

The squadron will join the 900 U.S. soldiers already there on a regularly scheduled Atlantic Resolve rotation.

The State Department ordered an evacuation of most U.S. direct-hire employees from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and urged Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately earlier Saturday as the tension at the Russia-Ukraine border escalated.

Epoch Times Photo
NATO battle groups from Estonia and the United Kingdom during military training at the Central Training Area in Lasna, Estonia, on Feb. 8, 2022. (Paulius Peleckis/Getty Images)

Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops and artillery along its border with Ukraine over the past few months.

The White House reiterated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.

However, Russia has denied any plans of attacking Ukraine and has asked the United States and its allies for a binding commitment that they won’t accept Ukraine into NATO.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has pushed for his country’s admission into the military alliance.

The Kremlin has also asked the United States and its allies to promise not to deploy offensive weapons and to roll back NATO deployments to Eastern Europe.

Washington and NATO have rejected those demands.

“From our perspective. I can’t be more clear—NATO’s door is open, remains open, and that is our commitment,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in late January, though he renewed an offer of “reciprocal” measures to address mutual security concerns between Russia and NATO, including missile reductions in Europe.

Tom Ozimek contributed to the report.

Allen Zhong
senior writer
Allen Zhong is a long-time writer and reporter for The Epoch Times. He joined the Epoch Media Group in 2012. His main focus is on U.S. politics.