US Increases Military Presence in CEE, Black Sea

USS Taylor. Photo:

The USA will send around 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic States for infantry exercises, said the Pentagon. 

According to Rear Admiral John Kirby, this is in response to Russia's incursion into Ukraine.

The first contingent of 150 soldiers from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy, will arrive in Poland on Wednesday to conduct infantry exercises. 

Another 450 soldiers will be deployed to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for similar duty. The American forces will be replaced to ensure a continual presence in the region.

"Russia's aggression in Ukraine has renewed our resolve to strengthening NATO's defense plans and capabilities, and to demonstrate our continued commitment to collective defense in reinforcing our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe," Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, a third US military frigate sailed into the Black Sea late on Tuesday evening, said the US Navy. USS Taylor's official mission is to “support peace and stability in the region.”

The ship was in the Black Sea earlier this year, during the Sochi Olympic Games, but had an accident and had to return to base for repairs. 

“The US Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law. Taylor's mission is to reassure NATO allies of the US Navy's commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working toward mutual goals in the region,” read a US Navy statement released on Tuesday. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has previously stated that the US has been violating the Montreux Convention which restricts the number of US vessels operating in the Black Sea and sets a time limit of 21 days for each one.

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