As U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia President Vladimir Putin held a high-stakes telephone call Saturday amid rising tensions around a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, 160 Florida National Guard troops have been “repositioned,” from Ukraine to elsewhere in Europe.
That’s according to a statement from Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby.
“This repositioning does not signify a change in our determination to support Ukraine’s Armed Forces, but will provide flexibility in assuring allies and deterring aggression,” Kirby’s statement said.
Those National Guard troops, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, “Task Force Gator,” have been “advising and mentoring” Ukrainian forces since late November.
Kirby’s statement said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin decided to move the troops “out of an abundance of caution — with the safety and security of our personnel foremost in mind — and informed by the State Department’s guidance on U.S. personnel in Ukraine.”
U.S. Embassy staff is being evacuated from Ukraine, also.