The United States intends to withdraw about 11,900 soldiers from Germany

The United States intends to withdraw about 11,900 soldiers in Germany, bringing the number of American soldiers in Germany to 24,000, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday.

Today, Esper told a news conference in Washington that about 6,400 soldiers will be returned to the United States, and about 5,600 others transferred to other European countries within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with many periodic deployments to Europe.

The move, he said, is taking place "in a way that strengthens NATO, enhances Russia's deterrence, reassures allies and improves the strategic resilience of the United States."

The Pentagon said that the forces that are deployed periodically can be deployed in Poland and northeastern Europe near the Baltic region and in southeastern Europe in the vicinity of the Black Sea.

Esber did not specify a timetable for a partial troop withdrawal, but said it would happen as soon as possible. Some changes may happen within weeks, but others require more time.

The US government had previously spoken of withdrawing about 10 thousand soldiers from a total of about 36 thousand soldiers in Germany.

US President Donald Trump announced the partial withdrawal of his forces from Germany in June, justifying this as what he considered insufficient spending by Germany on defense. Senior Democrats in the US Congress want to halt troop withdrawals under the law, and there are also skeptics among Trump's Republican Party.

"I think Germany is the richest country in Europe," Esper said. "Germany can and should pay more defense expenditures, and it certainly has to pay 2 percent as a standard percentage (of gross domestic product), and I will argue over it (that ratio)."

The initial announcement came as a surprise to the German government.


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