The government of Greece has announced that it is extending a bilateral military base deal signed with the United States for another five years.

The agreement, which is scheduled to be ratified by the Greek parliament this week, will extend the access of the US military to three military bases on the Greek mainland and maintain its naval presence on the island of Crete, strategically located in the Mediterranean Sea.

The extension saw support from the country’s center-right administration, which argued that bolstering coordination with NATO would help provide stability to a region rattled by the Russo-Ukrainian war.

US military bases in Greece, especially in Souda, Crete, are the key fixtures in American presence in the region. The United States Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay provides crucial operational support for not only US forces but also its allies within the US Central Command, US Africa Command, and US European Command.

Souda Bay, thanks to its location, delivers vital logistical services and support to the US and allied sea vessels and aircraft that are passing through or operating within the eastern Mediterranean. The base at Souda alone houses around 750 military and civilian personnel, which includes combat-ready units and detachments.

Sailors heave in line as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) prepares to depart Souda Bay, Greece, March 24, 2021. Mitscher is operating with the IKE Carrier Strike Group on a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (DVIDS, U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb J. Sarten/Released)

Experts believed that if things were to escalate in Ukraine, which it did, the US would double down on its efforts to ensure its foothold in the Mediterranean and increase military deployment in the area.

“We discussed how the US and Greece can work together to strengthen our remarkable alliance promoting security and prosperity, building on our fantastic momentum,” wrote U.S. Ambassador George J. Tsunis in a tweet.

The US ambassador recently met with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of his trip to Washington to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House.