Politico's 02/27/2022 article Pentagon wants Moscow back channels to prevent nuclear escalation includes the following:

When the Russian invasion began in earnest last week, U.S. forces in the region were immediately ordered to pull back from the war zone.

“As soon as the Russians did what they did, we had to get out of the way,” said one of the U.S. military officials in Europe directly involved in the planning.

That included redirecting a “pretty robust” operation of spy planes and drones flying over Ukrainian airspace, the official said.

Now, the U.S. Air Force is relying on high-flying aircraft over Ukraine such as the U-2 spy plane that can avoid most anti-aircraft missiles and drones because there is “a little bit more risk tolerance for that.”

“One of the things we don’t want to do,” the official said, “is provoke a conflict with the Russians directly.”

Question: Besides the "'pretty robust' operation of spy planes and drones flying over Ukrainian airspace" which "U.S. forces in the region were immediately ordered to pull back from the war zone"? Was there a substantial ground presence in Ukraine in addition to the presence in Ukrainian airspace?

I understand that having a US aircraft shot down by the Russian military is something that could lead to escalation, but were there other potential targets that needed to be "pulled back" as well?


1 Answer 1


It may have been:

Florida National Guard, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, deployed to Ukraine to train with local forces.

160 members of which deployed in November last year.

training and advising and mentoring Ukrainian armed forces. The troops, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, are part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

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53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Ukraine.

“currently serving there in an advisory or ‘train-the-trainer’ role with the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the Combat Training Center-Yavoriv,”

Col. Anton T. Semelroth, a Pentagon spokesman.. said that U.S. special operations forces regularly conduct exercises with their Ukrainian counterparts.

He declined to say how many American troops are currently deployed to Ukraine, citing security concerns.

What U.S. troops are already in Ukraine? (Dec 2021)

That’d be the Florida National Guard 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which recently took over for the Washington National Guard’s 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

“The U.S. recently delivered two decommissioned Coast Guard patrol boats to Ukraine’s navy.

And Ukraine’s defense intelligence chief has said its ground forces have been firing U.S.-provided Javelin anti-tank missiles at Russian or Russian-backed forces.”

That also fits in with the drones info:

Company B, “Zombie Hunters,” 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Detatchment-1 serves as the only unmanned aerial systems platoon in the Florida Army National Guard.

the unit is comprised of two teams, the launch recovery section and the operations section. The unmanned aerial vehicles are the Shadows, which combined with the launching system, its operators and maintainers, make up the complete unmanned aerial system.

The Shadow’s types of missions include military reconnaissance, forward observation and using them as a first responder.

Soldiers from Company B, Special Troops Battalion, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team are spending weeks in the field .. flying, testing and maintaining a fleet of four aircraft which will provide commanders with valuable reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.

“The Shadow Unmanned Aerial System will be a valuable asset for the Florida National Guard,” said Col. Perry Hagaman, the state aviation officer. “The ability for ground commanders to operate within their own three-dimensional battlespace will greatly assist units such as the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in conducting their federal mission.”

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  • We have 'advisors' in Ukraine? "pentagon orders departure of us troops in ukraine" - well, did they?
    – Mazura
    Feb 28, 2022 at 19:11
  • 2
    "the Florida Guard has now left Ukraine," reservenationalguard.com/reserve-guard-news/…
    – Mazura
    Feb 28, 2022 at 19:19
  • In this I think my question asking "What "skin in the game" does Eritrea have in this game that it would vote so glaringly differently than nearly any other country in such a visible, telling and historic vote?" is actually quite different than the proposed duplicate "Why did they say they did it?" but I've had my coffee and nearly out the door now and so I can't articulate the difference well right now then continue to babysit it.
    – uhoh
    Mar 3, 2022 at 1:34
  • I may revisit it at a later date, but with the close vote (rather than just a helpful comment about the potential duplicate) it will take more work to get it reopened. But I did vote to close myself so that's on me :-) It will now require others to "buy in" on reopening and perhaps that activity will bring more eyes and potential answers to it.
    – uhoh
    Mar 3, 2022 at 1:35

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