Biden authorizes sending an additional 3,000 reserve troops to Europe amid return from trip where he vowed to defend ‘every inch’ of NATO territory and said Putin had already lost the war
- The authorization came hours after Biden returned from Helsinki
- He vowed to defend NATO’s newest ally Finland
- U.S. is providing new munitions to Ukraine; Defense bill faces trouble in House
President Joe Biden authorized the Pentagon to dispatch an additional 3,000 reserve troops to bolster European security, amid his return from a trip to NATO‘s eastern flank where he vowed to protect ‘every inch’ of NATO territory.
The White House released the order Thursday, on a day Biden rapped up a meeting with Nordic allies in Helsinki including Finland, the newest member of the 31-country NATO alliance while Russia’s war on Ukraine rages.
‘I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the United States European Command’s area of responsibility,’ Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
The units being deployed can’t exceed 3,000, and not more than 450 can be members of the Individual Ready Reserve, according to the order.
President Joe Biden ordered the Pentagon to send an additional 3,000 reserves to Europe
The move comes after leaders of the alliance took new steps to bolster Ukraine’s arsenal. The first cluster munitions authorized by the Pentagon have already begun arriving in Ukraine. France is now providing long-range missiles, and Biden indicated potential openness to the U.S. providing some as well.
The U.S. has already taken steps to bolster forces in the event Russia’s war expands, sending about 1,000 troops to Lithuania, where Biden also visited this week.
Hours earlier, Biden stood side by side with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and vouched for the U.S. and NATO’s commitment to mutual defense.
Biden delivered a speech in Lithuania where he spoke about confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘I’m saying as sure as anything could possibly be said about American foreign policy, we will stay connected to NATO, connected to NATO beginning middle and end. We’re a a transatlantic partnership,’ he said at a press conference.
Biden vowed to protect ‘every inch of NATO territory, and that includes Finland, obviously,’ he said. After negotiations with Turkey, the group is also on track to admit Sweden.
As of last summer, the Defense Department had authorized or extended rotations of an additional 20,000 U.S. forces, even while sending billions of military equipment to Ukraine.
During his remarks in Finland, Biden had a blunt assessment of whether Putin could prevail in Ukraine or how long it might take to end the war.
‘Putin’s already lost the war,’ Biden said, amid tough fights by Ukraine to reclaim territory.
‘There is no possibility of him winning,’ Biden said.
He said Russia’s resources would run out. ‘But I can’t predict exactly how that happens.’
Nevertheless, there are strains in the U.S. as well. Biden has said Ukraine is ‘running out’ of artillery shells, one reason he decided to provide deadly cluster munitions.
The Defense Authorization bill faces steep hurdles in the House amid infighting over abortion policies at the Pentagon, and where 70 Republicans voted not to provide additional funding to Ukraine.