The Florida National Guard troops ordered out of Ukraine over the weekend are now in Germany.
The U.S. European Command confirmed with News4JAX that the 160 soldiers relocated to Grafenwoehr Training Area in Bavaria. It’s the Army’s largest permanent training area in Europe, which supports U.S. and NATO live fire and maneuver training and qualifications.
The Florida National Guard soldiers had been in Ukraine since November as part of Joint National Training Group-Ukraine.
European Command told News4JAX that the guard members will remain at Grafenwoehr preparing for their training to resume with Ukrainian Armed Forces along with any other missions that are assigned.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready for security talks with the U.S. and NATO, as the Russian military announced a partial troop withdrawal from drills near Ukraine — new signs that may suggest a Russian invasion of its neighbor isn’t imminent despite snowballing Western fears.
Putin said he doesn’t want war, and called for “peaceful” discussions over Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, which Moscow sees as a major threat. The overtures from Russia offered possible new impetus for diplomatic efforts to ease the worst East-West tensions in decades, which have put Europe on edge and rattled global markets.
But concerns remain. NATO and Western governments said they had seen no signs of de-escalation yet Tuesday, despite the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement that it is pulling back forces from maneuvers that had heightened concerns about an invasion. Russia gave no details on where the troops were pulling back from, or how many.
The invasion fears grew after Russia massed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks and months. Russia denies it has any such plans.
U.S. and other NATO allies, meanwhile, have moved troops and military supplies toward Ukraine’s western flank to shore up local governments — although not to confront Russian forces.