PRAGUE (Reuters) – The United States has announced plans to send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to shield NATO allies in Eastern Europe from a potential spillover of the crisis over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine.
The new plan goes above and beyond the 8,500 troops the Pentagon put on alert last month to deploy to Europe if needed. NATO defence ministers are expected to discuss further reinforcements at their next meeting on Feb. 16-17.
The following are current western nations’ military deployments in eastern NATO member states, some national assets and reinforcements that have been announced or are being considered.
– Around 4,500 U.S. troops are in Poland in both a NATO and a bilateral capacity, mostly stationed in the west of the country.
– In a deal signed with Poland in 2020, the United States promised to increase its troop presence by approximately 1,000, although implementation has remained under discussion.
– A NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) multinational battlegroup of 1,000 troops, led by the United States and including troops from Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom.
– Around 1,700 U.S. service members, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division, will deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland, under the U.S. plans announced on Feb.2 .
– A NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) battlegroup of 900 since 2017. Led by the United Kingdom, includes troops from France, Denmark and Iceland. One armoured infantry battalion, self-propelled artillery, air defence.
– NATO Baltic Air Policing: 4x F-16 fighter jets from Belgium. Additional deployment, from Jan. 26 until the end of this week: 6x F-15 fighter jets from the United States
– A NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) battlegroup of 1,500 since 2017. Led by Canada, includes troops from Albania, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Slovakia.
– A NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) battlegroup of 1,200 since 2017. Led by Germany, includes troops from the Netherlands, Norway, Czech Republic, Belgium and Luxembourg. Includes 12 Leopard tanks, armoured vehicles, anti-tank capabilities, air defence, radio intelligence.
– A U.S. infantry battalion of 500 troops, includes Abrams tanks and Bradley armoured vehicles.
– NATO Baltic Air Policing: 4x F-16 fighter jets from Poland
Additional deployment from Jan. 27: 4x F-16 fighter jets from Denmark
– NATO has a multinational land force of up to 4,000 troops in Romania.
– The United States has 900 soldiers in the country, some as part of the NATO force and some under separate bilateral arrangements.
– Italian and French troops are part of air and navy policing/patrolling missions. German Air Force Eurofighters will deploy to Romania in February and March.
– Romania’s foreign minister said on Feb. 3 he expected France to lead future NATO battlegroup in the country.
– A Stryker squadron of around 1,000 U.S. service members based in Vilseck, Germany will be sent to Romania, the Pentagon said on Feb. 2.
– Bulgaria plans a battlegroup of up to 1,000 troops under Bulgarian command and in close cooperation with NATO, which could include soldiers from other allied countries. It could be formed in April or May.
– The Bulgarian government gave a green light to Spain to send up to 10 Eurofighter warplanes and up to 200 soldiers to support the Black Sea nation’s air policing activities from February to April. Netherlands is expected to deploy two F-35 aircraft to Bulgaria in April and May.
– Under a deal with Bulgaria, the United States can keep up to 2,500 U.S. troops at several joint bases. At present, there are 200 U.S. troops along with infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, helicopters and other military equipment for training until the end of June.
– Hungary has been mentioned as a potential place to deploy additional NATO troops. However the country’s defence minister said on Jan. 30 that there was no need for more units on top of unknown numbers currently present for drills.
– Government officials have said Slovakia was https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-slovakia-idINP7N2R800I among countries where NATO may deploy troops but no decision has been made to request troops.
– Slovakia was due to sign a long-planned bilateral defence cooperation agreemen https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/slovak-government-approves-defence-treaty-with-united-states-2022-01-12t with the United States on Thursday, which, if ratified, would open the possibility for future use of two Slovak airports by the U.S. military.
(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska in Warsaw, Andrius Sitas in Vilnius, Tsvetelia Tsolova in Sofia, Gergely Szakacs in Budapest, Luiza Ilie in Bucharest, Jan Lopatka in Prague; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)