Amid worries about a rise of Russian aggression, President
Under drizzling morning rain, Obama was greeted at the airport by President
Speaking to reporters in a hanger at the airport, Obama declared European security the "cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct. … It is a commitment that is particularly important at this point in time."
The leaders spoke in front of four U.S. F-16 fighter jets -- with U.S and Polish flags hanging overhead.
The scene was a not-so-subtle reminder of the U.S. commitment to protect its
U.S. officials have been under pressure to demonstrate a new commitment to Europe. In the wake Russia's incursion into Ukraine, NATO added new air training missions in Poland, a NATO member since 1999.
As Obama landed, he announced another attempt to calm a region on edge. The president called on
Obama said the initiative, which requires support from Congress, would bolster NATO readiness, particularly in NATO’s eastern flank. The proposal would increase training and exercises in the newest NATO allies. U.S. Naval forces would increase deployments to the Black and Baltic seas. And allies would increase partnerships with non-NATO members, including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, to improve their defenses, according to a
Obama was expected to outline the plan at private meetings Tuesday with Komorowski, as well as during a separate conference with NATO nations in the region, including leaders from Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and others.
The president's visit to Poland comes as the former Communist nation is celebrating its 25th anniversary since its first free elections. Obama held up Poland's struggle for a Western-style democracy as a model for the fledgling government in Ukraine and a lesson.
“Poles know better than most how precious freedom is,” Obama said, issuing a warning of additional economic sanctions and political isolation for Russian President
Obama is due to meet with Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw on Wednesday. He's also likely to see Putin later in the trip, in France, at a memorial honoring the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy. No formal meeting is scheduled for the two leaders, but Obama acknowledged Tuesday that he would likely see Putin.
It's "fair to say" that the rebuilding of trust between the U.S. and Russia will "take quite some time," Obama said, but he said it was possible to try. He and Putin have always had a "business-like relationship," he added.