Madrid (CNN) US President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders meet Wednesday in Madrid, where they plan to announce a significant buildup of forces along the alliance’s eastern flank as Russia’s war in Ukraine shows no sign of signs of slowdown.
The leaders enter the talks buoyed by a diplomatic victory after Turkey dropped its objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, setting the stage for the two long-neutral countries to enter the defensive bloc.
A larger US military presence in Eastern Europe and two new NATO members, one sharing a 1,200-kilometre border with Russia, is exactly the outcome Russian President Vladimir Putin hoped to avoid when he invaded Ukraine more than four years ago. months.
“As I said before the war started, if Putin attacked Ukraine, the United States would enhance our strength posture in Europe and respond to the reality of a new European security environment,” Biden said Tuesday during a meeting with the Prime Minister. Spanish.
Yet even as Putin’s goals failed and the conflict continues, the momentum is working in Russia’s favor right now. That has left Biden and other Western leaders this week searching for ways to alter the trajectory of the war.
In Madrid, the leaders plan to agree on major new security commitments not seen since the Cold War. On Tuesday, Biden said he would send two additional destroyers to Naval Station Rota in Spain, with the intention of bolstering the US maritime presence in the region.
Biden will make additional announcements Wednesday about force buildups on “land, sea and air,” according to his top national security adviser, who said US forces along NATO’s far east would be moving “steadily” to the region.
“At the end of the summit, what will be seen is a force posture that is more robust, more effective, more credible in combat, more capable and more determined to take into account a more acute and aggravated Russian threat,” the security adviser said. National Jake Sullivan.
Already this week, the United States and European nations imposed new rounds of sanctions on Moscow, banning further imports of its gold and agreeing to cap the price of its oil. New rounds of security assistance, including a US-supplied missile defense system, have been added to the queue of artillery and ammunition flowing into Ukraine.
Whether that’s enough to fundamentally alter the way the war plays out remains to be seen. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will address the NATO meeting this week, told leaders attending the G7 summit in Germany that he wanted their help in carrying out a major initiative to win the war before end of the year.
Leaders fear that the rising cost of the war, seen in rising gasoline and food prices, could lead to a decline in support for Ukraine in the coming months. Some have warned that fatigue is building, adding to growing concerns that the alliance could break apart.
“When we agreed that we were going to respond, we recognized that there were going to be some costs to our people, our imposition of sanctions on Russia. But our people have stood together. They have stood up and they have stood their ground,” Biden said Tuesday when he met. met with King Felipe VI in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
It was during that meeting that Biden received word that Turkey was withdrawing its objections to Finland and Sweden’s requests to join NATO, ending a months-long standoff with the alliance’s most challenging member.
To reach an agreement before the summit, Biden offered the possibility of a formal bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call Tuesday morning. The leaders will meet on Wednesday to discuss the myriad problems that have soured the relationship between Washington and Ankara in recent years.
Biden also plans to meet jointly with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea to focus on the threat from North Korea. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Yoon Suk Yeol are invited to the NATO summit, but their countries’ ties have recently soured amid disputes over war history, making the joint meeting with Biden be a rarity.