"I am about to submit a major new budget that will carry the United States into the years ahead. It makes new investments that sadly we now have to make into defense of Europe and NATO territory as the consequence of Russia's aggressive behavior, which we have seen in Ukraine, and I wish it weren't so," Carter stated.
The defense secretary noted that the United States has not made investments in Europe for a quarter of a century. He added that the new budget will also fully resource the rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region announced by President Barack Obama in 2012.
Relations between Russia and NATO deteriorated in 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. Since then, NATO has been accusing Moscow of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and has also been enhancing its military presence in Eastern European countries that border Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly refuted the accusations and warned that NATO’s military buildup and exercises in close proximity to Russia increase tensions and threaten regional and global stability.