Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Steward in the U.S. State of Georgia arrive at the airport as part of the ongoing major exercise "Defender Europe 20" and walk across the apron to the waiting buses in Hamburg on Feb. 21, 2020.
Christian Charisius—picture alliance/dpa/Getty Images
June 6, 2020 1:05 PM EDT

(BERLIN) — Two conservative German lawmakers have criticized the reported U.S. decision to withdraw more than a quarter of American troops stationed in Germany.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany by 9,500. Currently there are 34,500 American service members permanently assigned in Germany as part of a long-standing arrangement with America’s NATO ally.

In an interview published Saturday by Germany’s Funke Media Group, lawmaker Norbert Röttgen said such a troop withdrawal would be “very regrettable.”

Röttgen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc who chairs the German parliament’s foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying that he couldn’t see “any factual reason for the withdrawal” and that U.S. soldiers were welcome in Germany.

Johann Wadephul, the deputy chairman of the Union’s parliamentary caucus, said the U.S. decision to withdraw troops without consulting with its NATO allies “shows once again that the Trump administration is neglecting basic leadership tasks.”

German news agency dpa quoted Wadephul as saying that Russia and China would benefit from discord within the Western alliance.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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