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AKIPRESS.COM - President Barack Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $1 billion US security plan for eastern Europe aimed at allaying fears over a resurgent Kremlin and the escalating pro-Russian uprising in ex-Soviet Ukraine, the AFP reported June 3.
Obama launched a major tour of Europe in Warsaw where he will attend celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Poland's first free elections that put both the country and the rest of eastern Europe on a path out of Moscow's orbit and toward democracy and growing prosperity.
But the poignant ceremony has been haunted by those very countries' fears of the Kremlin reasserting its Cold War-era grip over a large swathe of Europe following its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March.
"Our commitment to Poland's security as well as the security of our allies in central and eastern Europe is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct," Obama said after inspecting a joint unit of US and Polish F-16 pilots.
The US president then proposed an initiative of up to $1 billion to finance extra US troop and military deployments to "new allies" in eastern Europe.
The "European Reassurance Initiative" -- an historic plan that must be approved by Congress -- would also build the capacity of non-NATO states such as Ukraine and Georgia to work with the United States and the Western alliance and build their own defences.
Obama's first pivotal encounter will come Wednesday when he meets Ukraine's embattled president-elect Petro Poroshenko with his country threatened by civil war and its new pro-Western leadership grasping for protection from Washington.