The United States announced this Wednesday at the NATO summit in Madrid the increase in its military presence in Europespecifically in six countries -Poland, Romania, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany-, in addition to the “Baltic” region, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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Upon arrival at Ifema, the fairgrounds where the summit is held in the Spanish capital, the US president, Joe Biden made the announcement while being received by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
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Without specifying the number of additional soldiers that will be deployed, Biden recalled that, earlier this year, The US sent 20,000 uniformed personnel to Europe, bringing the number of US military personnel in the region to 100,000.
The president revealed that the US will establish a permanent Fifth Army Corps headquarters in Poland and that it will maintain an additional rotating brigade in Romania, with 5,000 US soldiers in Romania.
Specifically, the country will position an additional brigade combat team on Romanian territory. Likewise, Washington is going to send two more destroyer ships to the Rota naval base, in southern Spain, which will increase the number of US ships of this type deployed at said base to six.
Later, the White House detailed in a statement that it will “increase” rotational deployments, with armor, aviation, air defense and special operations forces, “to reinforce security in the Baltic.”
In the United Kingdom, The US will reinforce the presence of fifth-generation fighter-bombers, the most sophisticated currently in existence, with the location of two squadrons of F-35s at Lakenheath.
In parallel, it will station in Germany an air defense artillery brigade, a short-range air defense battalion and an engineering brigade with some 625 soldiers in total; meanwhile, in Italy, he will locate a battery of anti-aircraft defenses, with 65 soldiers.
The assistant secretary for Defense and International Security Affairs of the Pentagon, Celeste Wallander, said in a telephone meeting with journalists that the measures announced today represent the recognition by the US government that “the security environment has changed.”
Wallander stressed that this change affects, above all, the countries on NATO’s eastern flank that “face a high threat from the Russian leadership that has shown its willingness and ability to launch military attacks against bordering countries.”
The US official explained that the reinforcements announced on Wednesday will make the steps taken by the US since the beginning of this year, with the deployment of 20,000 additional soldiers in Eastern Europe, more “sustainable”.
Wallander said the decision to keep one Army rotating brigade combat team in Poland and establish another with a headquarters in Romania will give the US the ability to maintain a full rotating presence in the eastern flank countries, especially in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
This will also allow the US to maintain “a very rigorous training schedule”, especially in Romania, but also in Poland: “We will therefore have a higher level of interoperability with NATO allies, by being able to train them”, said.
In sum, with Wednesday’s announcement, Washington will be able to sustain a combat, defense and deterrence capacity in eight countries on NATO’s eastern flank.
The Communications Coordinator of the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby, added for his part in the same call that his country has not informed Russia of these changes in the position of US force. in Europe.
Biden participates this Wednesday in the first day of the NATO summit, which will last until tomorrow.
Apart from attending the sessions, the US president will hold a trilateral meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday to discuss the security challenges posed by North Korea and China.
Later, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after an agreement was reached in Madrid the day before between Turkey, Sweden and Finland, with the mediation of Stoltenberg, which unlocks the accession of the Nordic countries to NATO.
Biden gave his approval to the pact between Turkey, Finland and Sweden before it was announced and after speaking by phone with Erdogan hours before.
A US government source denied yesterday that the US had offered Ankara any compensation in exchange for accepting the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, but on Wednesday Wallander said that his country “fully supports” the modernization of the fleet of Turkish F-16 fighter-bombers.
Previously, Erdogan had indicated that the main topic of discussion with Biden will be the F-16, whose sale process he criticized as having been “delayed” for some time.
Russia says it is not intimidated
Russia assured this Wednesday that it is not intimidated by the increase in the US military presence. in several European countries, while stressing that the Russian state will not sit idly by and will guarantee the security of Russians 100%. .
“I think that those who propose these decisions have the illusion that they will be able to intimidate Russia, contain it in some way. They will not succeed,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Riabkov told the Russian media, according to the RIA Nóvosti agency.
He indicated that the security of the countries in which additional US troops will appear will not be strengthened, but that the prospect of stabilization will recede.
“The risks will increase. We, as they say, will not sit idly by. We have the capabilities and the resources. Security will be 100% guaranteed,” he stressed.
NATO guarantees its support for Ukraine “as long as it takes”
In other announcements, the Alliance guaranteed on Wednesday its support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to resist the Russian invasion.
The 30 current members of NATO condemned at the end of a two-day summit in Madrid the “appalling cruelty” of
Russia, which “has caused immense human suffering.”
Moscow “bears all the responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe,” the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) added in their final statement.
*With information from EFE and AFP
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