- With the Russian invasion of Ukraine continuing, over 4,000 US Army troops deployed to Europe are going to have their tours of duty extended.
The extension, announced Sunday, is part of the United States’ effort to instill confidence in their eastern European allies during the crisis.
‘I don’t want to speculate on a timeline, but be assured it will only be for as long as they are needed,’ John Tomassi, a spokesman for the Army in Europe, told CNN when asked about a time frame for this continued deployment.
The troops – members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat team of the 1st Infantry Division – were scheduled to return following nine months abroad in March.
The teams will now continue their training and deterrence missions alongside troops from Poland, Romania and the Baltic states.
Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, assist with humanitarian aid in support of the US Agency for International Development
Firefighters inspect the damage at a building following a rocket attack on the city of Kyiv
A map of the United States’ military bases in Europe
The Army also said that ‘additional support troops’ will have their deployment extended as well.
Armed forces regularly switch out combat brigades in and out of the continent to keep a consistent military presence in the region.
‘The deployment of ready, combat-credible US forces to Europe in support US Army Europe and Africa is evidence of the strong and unremitting US commitment to NATO and Europe,’ Tomassi added.
Russian forces are said to have taken a small Ukrainian town in the south of the country on Sunday night.
Berdyansk, is a port city with a naval base on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov, in the south-east Ukraine is home to 100,000 people.
Charred military vehicles and rubble are seen in Bucha, Ukraine
US President Joe Biden meets with the National Security Council on the Ukraine-Russia crisis
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the Pentagon Tuesday
French President Emmanuel Macron (right) greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left)
It is located close to the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and from which it launched one of several invasion forces.
Elsewhere in the country, Russian are said to be troops closing in around Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of almost 3 million. The mayor expressed doubt that civilians could be evacuated.
Ukrainian defenders have been putting up stiff resistance that appeared to slow Russia’s advance.
Kyiv was eerily quiet on Sunday morning after explosions lit up the morning sky and authorities reported blasts at one airport. A main boulevard was practically deserted as a strict curfew kept people off the streets. Authorities warned that anyone venturing out without a pass would be considered a Russian saboteur.
Terrified residents hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault. Food and medicine were running low, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Authorities have been handing out weapons to anyone willing to defend the city. Ukraine is also releasing prisoners with military experience who want to fight, and training people to make firebombs.
The southern Ukrainian town has a small naval base on the Sea of Azov
A woman reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl who was injured during shelling, at city hospital of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday. The girl did not survive
“Right now, the most important question is to defend our country,” Klitschko said.
In the southern port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainians were trying to fend off attack, a medical team at a city hospital desperately tried to revive a 6-year-old girl in unicorn pajamas who was mortally wounded in Russian shelling.
Nearly 560 miles away, Faina Bystritska was under threat in the city of Chernihiv.
‘I wish I had never lived to see this,’ said Bystritska, an 87-year-old Jewish survivor of World War II. She said sirens blare almost constantly in the city, about 90 miles from Kyiv.
Chernihiv residents have been told not to switch on any lights ‘so we don´t draw their attention,’ said Bystritska, who has been living in a hallway, away from any windows, so she could better protect herself.
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