MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) — US President Barack Obama will request the Congress to approve a $1 billion plan to boost US military presence in Eastern Europe, Reuters said Tuesday citing a White House statement.
"We are reviewing our force presence in Europe in light of the new security challenges on the continent," the statement reads.
On the first day of his visit to Warsaw on Tuesday, Obama said the US were committed to security in Eastern European states, fearful of Russian invasion in light of the Ukrainian crisis.
The White House said it would place more US military in Europe temporarily but did not mention a permanent base, to the disappointment of its allies in Europe and NATO, Reuters wrote.
US Vice President Joe Biden said last month that NATO and its allies in Eastern Europe have been urgently bolstering their military presence on the border with Russia, allegedly in response to Crimea’s decision to leave Ukraine for Russia back in March.
The Black Sea has seen a spike in NATO military activities over the past few months, following Crimea’s referendum on its secession from Ukraine.
NATO has also been ratcheting up its presence near the Russian borders, citing the need to better defend its allies. The alliance intensified its air patrols in Baltic states, deployed AWACS surveillance planes over Poland and Romania and sent its warships to the Black and Mediterranean seas.
Citing a need to protect its allies, NATO dispatched several warships to the Black Sea. On April 1, NATO ended all practical cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, only maintaining contacts at the ambassadors' level and higher.
Russian Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko earlier suggested that the alliance "is trying to use to its maximum the crisis in Ukraine in order to prove its relevance in the current security environment," while Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu described NATO troops massing near Russian borders as "unprecedented."
President Vladimir Putin earlier accused Western countries of supporting the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine at a time when Moscow was calling for searching a way out of the crisis in the country through dialog.