“Our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” he said at a White House news conference. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the East.”
Biden has repeatedly cautioned that he would not send American troops to fight Russian forces in Ukraine. “We have no intention of fighting Russia,” Biden said on Tuesday. “We want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the United States, together with our allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
The president authorized moving US troops already stationed in other parts of Europe into NATO-aligned countries along the Russian border, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
“The additional personnel are being repositioned to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member states, and train with host nation forces,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a conference Tuesday, adding that the moves are “temporary” in nature.
NATO is an alliance between 30 countries across North America and Europe meant to preserve security through political and military methods. The organization, which developed after World War II, focuses on security-related issues with allies and the “peaceful resolution” of disputes.
On Thursday morning, a coalition of NATO’s eastern countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania began consultations under Article 4 of the alliance’s Washington Treaty, which are triggered when “territorial integrity, political independence or security” of the organization's countries are threatened.
Biden said Thursday that NATO is prepared to meet its collective defense obligations under Article 5. “There is no doubt, no doubt that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article 5 commitments, which says an attack on one is an attack on all,” he said.