FORT RILEY (KSNT) – More soldiers from Fort Riley in Kansas are going to Europe as Russian troops press further into Ukraine, the military post announced Wednesday.
Around 300 soldiers from Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division Headquarters and 1st Infantry Division Artillery are deploying to Europe “in the coming days.” The group will be part of 7,000 U.S. troops going to Europe, as announced in February by the Department of Defense.
“The soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division will reinforce our allies as needed, especially on the eastern flank of [The North Atlantic Treaty Organization] to ensure deterrence and defense,” a spokesperson for Fort Riley said. “Soldiers of the Big Red One are ready – if called upon – to support NATO in the defense of the Alliance.”
Some 3,800 Fort Riley soldiers were already deployed in various countries neighboring Ukraine and Russia as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The campaign, which has been active for years even before Fort Riley got involved in July 2021, is intended to “enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support NATO.”
The 300 additional soldiers will join around 80 Fort Riley soldiers already stationed at Atlantic Resolve’s headquarters in Poznań, Poland. Their post is just 13 hours away from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Russian troops have encroached on the city for weeks now, with explosions and gunfire audible through the city.
Aside from these troops, around 3,720 members of Fort Riley’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division are already working in Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.
“Our soldiers are conducting excellent training [shoulder-to-shoulder] with our allies and partners,” said Major Jefferson T. Grimes, 1st Infantry Division. “This training increases our interoperability and improves readiness.”
KSNT News has previously asked officials involved with Operation Atlantic Resolve if troops from Fort Riley could end up becoming involved in defending Ukraine or Poland from a deepening Russian invasion.
“We cannot speculate on future decisions by senior leaders nor how the current crisis will proceed,” said Major Scott Kuhn, Media Division Chief for USAEA. “What we can say is that our forces including those permanently stationed in Europe, those here on rotation for Atlantic Resolve and those deployed to assure our NATO allies are highly trained [are] always ready for whatever mission they may be assigned.”
The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in some 1.2 million refugees fleeing the country. While Russian tanks remain held at bay outside Kyiv, President Vladimir Putin’s forces have attacked other cities and sites in the country. In a March 4 strike, Russian soldiers attacked the city of Enerhodar, seizing the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe.