US troops head to exercises in Eastern Europe

U.S. troop deployment
Ukrainian soldiers transport their tanks from their base in Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Ukraine has started withdrawing its troops and weapons from Crimea, now controlled by Russia. Foreign policy used to stand out as a not-so-bleak spot in the public’s waning assessment of Barack Obama. Not anymore. He’s getting low marks for handling Russia’s swoop into Ukraine, and more Americans than ever disapprove of the way Obama is doing his job, according to a new poll. Close to 9 out of 10 Americans support sanctions as a response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. They are divided over whether the U.S. sanctions so far are about right or not strong enough, the Associated Press-GfK poll found. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. Army troops are arriving in Poland to begin what will be a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe in a move to bolster allies in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last month.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says the exercises will last about a month, and involve a total of roughly 600 troops.

An Army company of about 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy, will start the exercises Wednesday in Poland. Similar exercises will be conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and troops could arrive in those countries by Monday.

The exercises are part of an effort announced last week aimed at reassuring NATO allies of America’s commitment to the region’s defense.

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