Barack Obama Asks Congress for $1 Billion to Spend on U.S. Forces in Europe
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | June 4, 2014 10:37 AM EST
U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress for an approval of $1 billion to spend on the American forces in Europe on Tuesday, June 3. He was in the Polish capital of Warsaw on the first day of his 4-day Europe tour.
U.S. President Barack Obama raises his glass in a toast during the Solidarity Dinner at the Royal Palace in Warsaw June 3, 2014. Obama promised on Tuesday to beef up military support for eastern European members of the NATO alliance who fear they could be next in the firing line after the Kremlin's intervention in Ukraine.
NATO allying countries of the United States in Europe are apparently anxious about Russia's intimidating moves regarding Ukraine. Obama's tour is expected ease the political concern among the allies. The $1 billion will be used for increasing military training missions and exercises, according to the White House. The funds will also be used for rotating ground and air forces in Europe, Fox News reported.
According to U.S. officials, Obama sought to ramp up the participation of the U.S. Navy in NATO deployments in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. He reportedly wants to boost the military strength of non-NATO nations around Russia's border. The nations include Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. Obama said that the European security was "sacrosanct" and was the "cornerstone" of the U.S. security. "It is a commitment that is particularly important at this time," he declared while he stood before F-16 fighter jets.
A statement on behalf of the White House clarified the $1 billion demand. "A persistent U.S. air, land, and sea presence in the region, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, is a necessary and appropriate show of support to allies," the statement said. It also said that the NATO allies "are now deeply concerned by Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and other provocative actions in Ukraine," USA Today reported. "We will continue to take actions that increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces to address any threat," the White House statement clarified.
The U.S. President is expected to meet national leaders of Eastern European countries like Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic during the tour. Polish President Bronisław Komorowski said that Poland and the United States were "brotherhood in arms."
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au
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