Biden authorizes sending an additional 3,000 reserve troops to Europe amid a trip in which 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 promised to defend the new NATO ally, Finland.
- The United States is providing new ammunition to Ukraine; Defense bill faces trouble in the House
President Joe Biden authorized the Pentagon to send 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 issued the order on Thursday, on a day Biden announced a meeting with Nordic allies in Helsinki, including Finland, the newest member of the 31-nation NATO alliance as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.
“I hereby determine that augmentation of the active United States Armed Forces is necessary for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the United States European Command area of responsibility,” Biden said in a statement issued by the White House.
Units to be deployed may not exceed 3,000, and no more than 450 may be members of the Ready Individual Reserve, depending on the order.
President Joe Biden ordered the Pentagon to send an additional 3,000 reserves to Europe
The move comes after alliance leaders took further steps to bolster Ukraine’s arsenal. The first Pentagon-authorized cluster munitions have already started arriving in Ukraine. France is now providing long-range missiles, and Biden indicated a possible opening to the US providing some as well.
The United States has already taken steps to bolster forces in case Russia’s war escalates, sending around 1,000 troops to Lithuania, where Biden also visited this week.
Hours earlier, Biden stood by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and endorsed the commitment of the United States and NATO to mutual defense.
Biden gave a speech in Lithuania where he discussed confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I am saying as sure as anything that can be said about American foreign policy, we will stay connected with NATO, connected with NATO from start to finish. We are a transatlantic partnership,’ he told a news 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 Department of Defense had authorized or expanded rotations for an additional 20,000 US troops, even as it shipped billions of pieces of military equipment to Ukraine.
During his remarks in Finland, Biden had a stark assessment of whether Putin could prevail in Ukraine or how long it might take for the war to end.
“Putin has already lost the war,” Biden said, amid fierce Ukraine fighting to regain territory.
“There’s no chance he’s going to win,” Biden said.
He said that Russia’s resources would be exhausted. “But I can’t predict exactly how that happens.”
However, there are also strains in the US. Biden has said Ukraine is “running out” of artillery shells, one reason he decided to provide lethal cluster munitions.
The Defense Authorization bill faces major hurdles in the House amid infighting over abortion policies at the Pentagon, and where 70 Republicans voted not to provide additional funding to Ukraine.