MADRID (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the United States is bolstering its long-term military presence in Europe to bolster regional security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
When meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Madrid at the opening of the alliance’s annual leaders’ summit, Biden said “NATO stands strong and united” and that steps to take during the gathering “will further increase our collective strength”.
Biden opened his participation in the summit by announcing that the United States would establish a permanent headquarters in Poland, send two additional F-35 fighter squadrons to the United Kingdom and send more air defense and other capabilities to Germany and the United Kingdom. Italy.
“Today, I announce that the United States will strengthen our force posture in Europe and respond to the changing security environment while strengthening our collective security,” he said.
Stoltenberg, who said earlier Wednesday that the alliance faces its biggest challenge since World War II, welcomed Biden’s announcement.
“This really demonstrates your decisive leadership and strength in the transatlantic bond,” Stoltenberg said, thanking Biden for the “unwavering support from you and the United States to Ukraine.”
Biden said the United States would permanently station the U.S. Army’s V Corps Forward Command in Poland, a move he said would enhance U.S.-NATO interoperability on the eastern flank of the covenant. This decision marks the first permanent base of American forces on NATO’s eastern border. Biden added that the United States is also stepping up its rotational troop deployments to the Baltic region.
Biden announced after arriving at the summit on Tuesday that the United States would base two more destroyers at its naval base in Rota, Spain, bringing the total number to six.
The United States currently has more than 100,000 military personnel deployed across Europe, up from about 20,000 since Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine began four months ago.
Biden predicted this week’s meetings would be a “historic climax” as leaders were expected to approve a new strategic framework, announce a series of measures to increase their defense spending and capabilities and pave the way for Finland and the Historically neutral Sweden. join NATO.
Biden said Putin thought NATO members would split after invading Ukraine, but got the opposite response instead.
“Putin was looking for the Finnishization of Europe,” Biden said. “You are going to have the NATOisation of Europe. And that is exactly what he did not want, but exactly what must be done to guarantee the security of Europe.
Turkey, the last remaining country to approve the Nordic countries’ membership of NATO, reached an agreement on the eve of the summit on Tuesday evening to back their addition to the 30-nation alliance.
While the White House has said the United States is not a direct party to the negotiations, a senior administration official said Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday to encourage him to pave the way for Sweden and Finland to join. The two leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss other matters, the White House said.
Biden will also speak on Wednesday with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who are attending the NATO summit as the alliance seeks to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region and raise China’s challenges.
The White House said the three leaders would also discuss North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed to this report.