Highlights

  • US to boost military presence in Europe
  • Decision a fallout of Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • US to deploy 20,000 more troops in Europe

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US to deploy 20,000 more troops in Europe to counter Russian threat

White House said Biden's commitments mean the U.S. will maintain a presence of 100,000 troops in Europe, up 20,000 from the levels before the Ukraine war began, for the “foreseeable future.”

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the U.S. will significantly increase its military presence in Europe for the long haul, including by establishing its first permanent presence in Poland, to bolster regional security after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the alliance's annual leaders' summit in Madrid, Biden said “NATO is strong and united" and that steps to be taken during the gathering will “further augment our collective strength.” The White House said Biden's commitments mean the U.S. will maintain a presence of 100,000 troops in Europe, up 20,000 from the levels before the Ukraine war began, for the “foreseeable future.” Biden opened his participation in the summit by announcing the permanent basing of a U.S. military garrison in Poland.

He also said the U.S. is sending two additional F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the UK and will send more air defense and other capabilities to Germany and Italy.

“Today I'm announcing the United States will enhance our force posture in Europe and respond to the changing security environment as well as strengthening our collective security,” he said.

Stoltenberg, who earlier Wednesday said the alliance was facing its biggest challenge since World War II because of Russia's aggression toward Ukraine, welcomed Biden's announcement.

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“This really demonstrates your decisive leadership and strength in the trans-Atlantic bond,” Stoltenberg said, thanking Biden for the "unwavering support from you and from the United States to Ukraine.” Biden said the U.S. will permanently station the U.S. Army V Corps forward command in Poland , a move that he said would strengthen US-NATO interoperability across the alliance's eastern flank.

The move marks the first permanent basing of U.S. forces on NATO's eastern edge. Biden added that the U.S. is also stepping up its rotational deployments of troops to Romania and the Baltic region.

Celeste Wallander, an assistant U.S. secretary of defense for international affairs, told reporters that having a permanent presence in Poland will be key to helping NATO navigate the changed security environment in Europe caused by Russia's invasion.

Biden announced on Tuesday after arriving for the summit that the U.S. would base two additional destroyers at its naval base in Rota, Spain, bringing the total number to six.

Biden predicted that meetings this week would make for a “history-making summit” as leaders were set to approve a new strategic framework, announce a range of steps to boost their defense spending and capabilities, and clear the way for historically neutral Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

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