Reflecting NATO’s determination to strengthen its defenses amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. would commit more troops to Europe as the transatlantic alliance formally invited Finland and Sweden to become members.
“NATO is strong and united,” Biden said during a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, on the first full day of a summit here. “And the steps we’re taking during this summit, we’re going to further augment our collective strength.”
Biden emphasized that the alliance was committed to defending “every inch” of territory under its charter’s “sacrosanct” Article V, which deems an attack on a member nation to be an attack against all.
That protective umbrella is expected to cover Sweden and Finland in a historic expansion of the alliance after Turkey on Tuesday dropped its objections to the two countries joining. Once every member nation’s parliament has ratified the expansion, which is expected to take several months, NATO’s territory will include Finland’s 810-mile border with Russia — more evidence, Biden said, that invading Ukraine has backfired on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But the war in Ukraine is leading to “the NATO-ization of Europe,” Biden said. “And that’s exactly what he didn’t want — but exactly what needs to be done to guarantee security for Europe.”