Obama and Kerry Seek to Reassure Europe on American Relevance

Obama and Kerry Seek to Reassure Europe on American Relevance

US President Barack Obama landed in Poland Tuesday to open a European tour dominated by the showdown with Russia over Ukraine.

Obama touched down at Warsaw airport on a trip which also includes stops in Belgium for the G7 summit and France for talks with President Francois Hollande and the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day Normandy landings.

According to the BBC, President Obama announced plans for a £600m fund to increase US military deployments to Europe, and is set to visit Belgium and France during his tour.

CNN reports that Obama was also forced to defend the decision exchange Taliban captives for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan. 

“We don’t leave men and women in uniform behind,” Obama said.

“We are here today because this remains a new moment of challenge for all of us,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.

“Events in Ukraine have unfortunately unleashed forces that we had all hoped had been put away… were behind us. So it requires new vigilance and it requires clear commitment.”

“In addition to this initiative, we are reviewing our force presence in Europe in the light of the new security challenges on the continent,” it said.

“These efforts will not come at the expense of other defense priorities, such as our commitment to the Asia Pacific rebalance.”

Reuters reports that Obama’s visit coincides with the “Freedom Day” anniversary in Poland, which marks the holding of the country’s first partially-free elections 25 years ago.

AFP Contributed To This Report