Updated Feb 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon orders departure of some U.S. troops in Ukraine as crisis escalates

The soldiers of the Ivan Sirko 92nd Mechanised Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ride a tank during a drill, Kharkiv Region, northeastern Ukraine.

The soldiers of the Ivan Sirko 92nd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ride a tank during a drill in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine. Photo: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The Pentagon is pulling nearly 160 members of the Florida National Guard from Ukraine as top U.S. officials publicly warn a Russian invasion could be imminent.

Why it matters: The withdrawal of the military trainers underscores growing concern among U.S. officials that Russian military forces could invade Ukraine any day.

Driving the news: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a "temporary" repositioning of the members of the Florida Army National Guard to "elsewhere in Europe," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

  • "Abundance of caution, safety and security of our personnel his paramount concern," Kirby wrote on Twitter.
  • "We remain committed to our relationship with the Ukrainian armed forces."
  • The 160 National Guard members have been deployed to Ukraine since late November, advising foreign troops as part of a multinational force, per the Times.

State of play: The Biden administration said Friday that it would deploy an additional 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to bolster NATO defenses in Poland, according to the Washington Post.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details on the repositioning of the National Guard members.

Go deeper