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Florida National Guard troops exit Ukraine days before Russian missile attack

Russia Ukraine War
A view of the central square following shelling of the City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Russia on Tuesday stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, pounding civilian targets there. Casualties mounted and reports emerged that more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian artillery recently hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, the capital. (AP Photo/Pavel Dorogoy)

Russia attacked a military training site narrowly missing some Florida National guard troops who were recently in western Ukraine near the Polish border which is a NATO country.

The 160 soldiers of the Florida National Guard deployed to Ukraine since November were ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to leave Ukraine because of the Russian attack, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan argued these latest attacks are a sign that Putin is frustrated that he is lashing out.

And just weeks before the invasion, about 160 Florida National Guardsmen were actually training Ukrainians at  that base targeted over the weekend, just 11 miles from the Polish border.

And if there is any red line for this administration,  it is that Polish border,  anywhere on the eastern flank of NATO.  If a missile strikes NATO territory, the US would be bound by Article 5 to respond.

The Florida reserve soldiers, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, were ordered to reposition elsewhere in Europe in late February, according to Kirby in a media release.

They have been advising and mentoring Ukrainian forces as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.