About 150 soldiers being withdrawn from Ukraine will be repositioned within Europe, the Pentagon spokesman said, but it was not clear exactly where.

Pentagon will send 3,000 additional troops to Poland as Russia held military exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea.
Pentagon will send 3,000 additional troops to Poland as Russia held military exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea. (Reuters)

About 150 US troops from the Florida National Guard who have been in Ukraine to help train Ukrainian forces are leaving the country as the threat of a Russian invasion increases.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Saturday the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and was informed by the State Department's decision to withdraw some staff from the US embassy in Kiev.

"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 said in a written statement.

The trainers will be repositioned within Europe, he said, but it was not clear exactly where.

It was also not immediately clear what will happen with the small number of US special operations forces in the country, according to a US official speaking on condition of anonymity.

READ MORE: US to send extra 3,000 troops to Poland amid Ukraine-Russia crisis

Russian troop build-up  

Reuters news agency reported on Friday that the Pentagon will send 3,000 additional troops to Poland as Russia held military exercises in Belarus and the Black Sea following the buildup of its forces near Ukraine.

Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands on Saturday joined countries urging their citizens to leave Ukraine. Washington said on Friday that a Russian invasion, likely beginning with an air assault, could occur at any time.

Moscow has repeatedly disputed Washington's version of events, saying it has massed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border to maintain its own security against aggression by NATO allies.

READ MORE: US intensifies diplomatic phone calls amid fears of Russian Ukraine attack

Leave Ukraine

Since 2015, reservists from the US National Guard have been advising and training Ukraine's army alongside soldiers from other NATO countries, notably Canada and Germany.

Earlier Saturday, the US ordered all non-emergency Kiev embassy staff to leave the country because of the threat of a Russian invasion.

Weeks of tensions, during which Russia has surrounded its western neighbor with more than 100,000 troops, intensified when the Kremlin launched its biggest naval drills in years across the Black Sea.

Washington on Friday issued its most dire warning yet that Russia had assembled enough forces to launch a serious assault.

READ MORE: US orders evacuation of Ukraine embassy amid Russian invasion fears

Source: TRTWorld and agencies