WASHINGTON, April 6. /TASS/. The United States needs to preserve its level of military spending and maintain support of its NATO allies in Europe in light of new challenges, including Russia’s recently aggressive actions, US President Barack Obama told journalists.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Obama said it was important that his administration earlier managed to agree with the Congress against the cutting the budget of Pentagon and seek $582.7 billion for defense needs in the financial year of 2017.
According to Obama, the United States invests money in the armed forces to counter aggression and provide for the national security as well the security of American allies.
The United States, he said, needed to enhance its positions in Europe, where the country’s NATO allies required extra support in light of Russia’s aggressive behavior.
US military spending to enhance security in Europe is planned to be upped in 2017 to $3.4 billion, which is four times more compared with the previously allocated sum.
Less than two weeks ago Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian Defense Ministry was compelled to respond to the build-up of NATO’s military potential in Europe, including close to Russian borders.
"NATO continues building up its military potential in Europe, including in close vicinity to the Russian borders. No doubt, this situation cannot but concern us. We are forced to respond to it," the minister said, adding that the developments in the western strategic direction merited special attention.
Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.
Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders on Europe.