US troops head to exercises in Eastern Europe

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.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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