The United States will strengthen its military presence in Europe in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia
The United States plans to increase its military presence in Europe as part of its defense boost in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced before NATO leaders only meet for their historic summit in Madrid on Wednesday (June 29).
“The United States will strengthen its posture of forces in Europe and respond to the evolution of the security environment”Biden said, noting that they plan to “defend every square inch of Allied territory”.
The United States has increased its presence since shortly before the Russian invasion in late February, increasing the 80,000 previously in Europe by around 20,000 troops.
In a speech alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Mr Biden announced that the United States planned to establish a “permanent headquarters” for the US 5th Army Corps in Poland.
Washington will also send 5,000 troops as part of a rotational brigade based in Romania, bolster rotational deployments to the Baltics, assign additional squadrons of F-35 fighter jets to the United Kingdom, set up a additional air defense in Germany and Italy, and will send two additional naval destroyers to Spain.
Mr Biden said the summit of NATO leaders in Madrid was “historical” and that new US deployments “send an unequivocal message that NATO is strong and united”.
“At a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin has shattered peace in Europe (…), the United States and its allies are mobilizing and proving that NATO is more necessary than ever”Mr. Biden said.
The troop boost announcement comes as the Western alliance must also agree that key allies such as the US, Germany, UK and Canada will pre-commit troops, weapons and equipment to the Baltic countries and will intensify training exercises.
NATO also aims to have up to 300,000 troops ready for deployment in the event of conflict, as part of an expanded NATO Response Force.
NATO sees Russia as accomplishing the opposite of what its President Vladimir Putin sought when he launched his war in Ukraine, in part to counter the expansion of the NATO alliance, Western leaders say.
Russia will be identified as the “main threat” of NATO in the new strategic concept of the alliance, whereas it was previously classified as a “strategic partner” of NATO.
“One of the most important messages from President Vladimir Putin (…) was that he was opposed to any further enlargement of NATO”Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday evening.
“He wanted less NATO. Now President Vladimir Putin will have even more NATO on his borders”he added.
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