1. Home
  2. /
  3. Politics
  4. /
  5. Slideshow
  6. /
  7. U.S. Deploys Soldiers to...

U.S. Deploys Soldiers to Kosovo as NATO Peacekeeping Mission Grows

Dozens of Iowa National Guard soldiers are set to depart for Kosovo, marking their involvement in a new NATO peacekeeping mission. This deployment comes at a time of increased tensions in the region, particularly regarding Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

NATO’s Stance on Russia

Credit: DepositPhotos

NATO, as a collective, has been vocal in its criticism of Russia’s activities in Ukraine since the war began on February 24, 2022. This stance has drawn the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has led to ongoing threats throughout the 22-month-long campaign.

Stoltenberg’s Statement

Credit: DepositPhotos

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, just before Christmas, claimed that the combined efforts of NATO and Western allies have resulted in a “big strategic defeat” for Russia. He went on to assert that Russia has “lost Ukraine forever.” Despite extensive aid from the U.S. and NATO members, the war in Ukraine continues without a clear resolution.

Read More: New Details Emerge on Planned March on Jan 6th And White House Involvement

Concerns About Balkans

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the media during a press conference as Ukraine marks one year since Russia’s large-scale invasion, on February 24, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. — Photo by Oleksandr_Gusev

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky previously expressed concerns that Putin might be seeking a diversion from Ukraine by focusing on the Balkans. In October, a gun battle between Kosovo and Serbian representatives escalated tensions, leading to the U.S. warning of rising violence and unrest in the region.

Deployment Details

Credit: DepositPhotos

Thirty-three Iowa guardsmen from Detachment 1, Company C (Medevac), 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, will begin their nine-month deployment on December 29. The U.S. maintains an embassy in Pristina, Kosovo.

Primary Mission

Credit: DepositPhotos

The primary mission of this deployment is to conduct live aerial medevac operations and provide refueling and maintenance support to the United States, Kosovo Security Forces (KSF), and the coalition formed between them over the past decade.

Also Read: NYT Corrects Hunter Biden Quote Amidst Backlash For “Illiberal Bias”

Partnership History

Credit: DepositPhotos

The partnership between Iowa and Kosovo was initiated on March 11, 2011, approximately three years after Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia. It was officially recognized as an independent country by the U.S. Prior to independence, Kosovo was a province of Yugoslavia.

Long-term Partnership

Credit: DepositPhotos

Formal discussions for a long-term partnership began in March 2011, although Iowa soldiers had already been contributing to Kosovo’s peacekeeping efforts for eight years by that time.

Kosovo’s Visit to Iowa

Credit: DepositPhotos

In August of that year, a delegation from Kosovo visited Iowa for four days. During their visit, they engaged with state officials, toured military facilities, and participated in various discussions.

Read More: Pressure Mounts on NATO Allies Following Germany’s Move to Deploy Military

Leaders’ Exchange

Credit: Getty Images

In October, Vjosa Osmani, the president of Kosovo, visited Iowa’s Camp Dodge in response to an invitation by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Major General Stephen Osborn. They discussed global security and military training between the two entities.

Growing Partnership

Credit: DepositPhotos

Osmani described the partnership as strengthening daily, extending to various areas of mutual interest, including defense, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

Significant Efforts in 2024

Credit: DepositPhotos

According to the U.S. Air National Guard, Iowa guardsmen made substantial efforts in 2024 to establish connections with the KSF. Activities included Iowa airmen traveling to Kosovo for extensive medical training exercises in April.

Also Read: Turkey and Hungary Reevaluate Ties with Russia Amid Ongoing Ukraine Conflict

End-of-Mission Farewell

Kosovo flag is depicted on a sports cloth fabric with many folds. Sport team waving banner

In November, Major General Stephen Osborn spoke at an end-of-mission farewell event honoring Artan Duraku, the head of the Mission of the Consulate of the Republic of Kosovo. Osborn highlighted Duraku’s role in strengthening the relationship between the Iowa National Guard and Kosovo.

Meeting with U.S. Senator

Credits: DepositPhotos

This month, Kosovo Defense Minister Ejup Maqedonci met with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, emphasizing her support as “a great friend of Kosovo in the Senate.” Their discussions centered on bilateral relations and Kosovo’s path toward NATO integration.

Deployment Ceremony

Credit: DepositPhotos

The departure ceremony for the Iowa National Guard troops is scheduled for Friday morning at the Waterloo Airport Army Aviation Support Facility. Following the ceremony, a military aircraft will travel to Fort Cavazos, Texas, for pre-mobilization training before proceeding to Kosovo.

Read Next: US Responds to Attack on Ship in Red Sea

More from The Stock Dork – U.S. Legislators Call for Investigation into Autel Robotics, Citing Security Concerns

Credit: Depositphotos

U.S. Legislators Call for Investigation into Autel Robotics, Citing Security Concerns

More from The Stock Dork – Donald Trump Faces Reinstated Gag Order in New York Civil Fraud Trial

Credit: Depositphotos

Donald Trump Faces Reinstated Gag Order in New York Civil Fraud Trial

More from The Stock Dork – Trump’s Co-Defendant in Georgia Case to Meet with Investigators in Other States

Credit: Depositphotos

Trump’s Co-Defendant in Georgia Case to Meet with Investigators in Other States

More from The Stock Dork – Tensions Rise as DeSantis and Newsom Clash on COVID-19 Policies

Credit: Depositphotos

Tensions Rise as DeSantis and Newsom Clash on COVID-19 Policies

More from The Stock Dork – Federal Judge Denies Trump’s Immunity Claims in Election Interference Case

Credit: Depositphotos