Two more squadrons of US F-35s are being sent to the UK as NATO bolsters its forces in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden announced several US reinforcements for Europe at the start of the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.
He said the United States would expect to increase the number of naval destroyers stationed at Rota Naval Base in Spain from four to six.
Biden announced that a permanent headquarters for the US Fifth Army would be established in Poland.
He continued: “We will maintain an additional rotating brigade of 3,000 fighters and 2,000 military personnel here in Europe, as part of a battle group based in Romania.
Biden also announced that additional air defense and “other capabilities” would be sent to Germany and Italy.
Addressing the summit, the US president said: “At a time when Putin is shattering the peace in Europe and attacking the principles of the rules-based order, the US and our allies must increase our presence and demonstrate that NATO is more. It is needed now more than ever. It is as important as ever.”
The US president’s announcement comes at a time when the United Kingdom is sending more troops to the eastern flank of the alliance, already has a significant military presence in Estonia and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is using the summit to expand his headquarters in the Baltic nation.
Officials said it would ensure the UK could provide rapid reinforcements and deploy artillery, air defenses and helicopters if needed.
Johnson said Vladimir Putin’s hopes that NATO would scale back had been proven “absolutely wrong” by the union of Sweden and Finland.
Russian President Putin is getting “more NATO,” not less, as a result of his actions in Ukraine, Johnson said.
The Prime Minister is urging coalition leaders to increase their defense budgets, but the UK is pressing for more military spending.
The coalition plans to keep 300,000 troops on high alert – up from the current 40,000 – and dedicate UK land, air and sea capabilities to a “new force model”.
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