FPI / October 25, 2022
The U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, deployed to Europe for the first time since World War II, has been carrying out live-round tank and artillery exercises at a forward operating site on NATO's eastern flank and not far from the Ukraine border, U.S. military officials said.
The U.S. forces are "fully prepared" to cross into Ukraine at a moment's notice to fight against Russia, Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the division's deputy commander, told CBS News.
Lubas made it clear that what U.S. forces are doing in Romania, about 3 miles from the Ukraine border, is "not a training deployment" but rather a "combat deployment" from which his forces "need to be ready to fight tonight, depending on how the situation escalates across the border."
Col. Edwin Matthaidess, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, told CBS News that the troops are the closest American unit to the fighting in Ukraine.
About 4,700 soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are stationed near Romania 's border with Ukraine and conducting joint ground and air assault exercises with Romanian forces meant to simulate battles that Ukrainian forces are waging against Russian forces.
"It keeps us on our toes," Matthaidess said.
Charlie D'Agata, senior foreign correspondent for CBS News, said in one report from an air base in Romania: "It's not just about defending NATO territory. If the fight escalates, and NATO partners are under threat, they're fully prepared to cross over into Ukrainian territory if ordered to do so."
Free Press International
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