Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered additional troops and military equipment to be deployed in various parts of Europe amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The move is aimed at strengthening US support for NATO allies, a senior US defense official told CNN reporters.

The Defense Department will send a total of 500 troops to this new troop deployment, the official said. The mission will also include sending KC-135 refueling aircraft to Greece, but the official did not mention how many such aircraft will be deployed in the area.

Air support operations centers will be set up in Poland and Romania, and a supply and maintenance company will be sent from the US to Germany, the official said.

With these additional deployments, the US reaches about 100,000 troops stationed in Europe, either included in a rotating system or with a permanent presence, the official said.

The decision to send these troops and military equipment was “based on talks that the secretary had with the president and General (Tod) Wolters,” the head of the US command in Europe, “the official added.

The additional deployment “was already somewhat planned and comes to contribute to NATO airspace defense efforts,” the official added.

Editor: Liviu Cojan

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