Biden will travel to Brussels next week to attend the high-stakes rally to discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his bombardment of civilian targets as his unprovoked invasion of the country enters its third week.
“His goal is to meet face to face with his European counterparts and talk about where we are at this stage of the conflict, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” said the press secretary of the White House, Jen Psaki, during a press briefing Tuesday afternoon. have been incredibly aligned so far. This does not happen by accident.
The trip comes as Biden, who helped coordinate a rapid Western response to the invasion centered on powerful sanctions and increased military aid, faces intense pressure to take more direct action to stop the killing of Ukrainian civilians. . Ceasefire talks between the combatants have so far yielded no results.
PSAKI provided few details about Biden’s trip and declined to say whether he planned to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he hailed as a hero. She also did not say whether Biden or other US officials would meet with refugees who fled the fighting.
“We are still finalizing the trip right now,” Psaki said, adding, “Nothing is on the table at the moment, but the real goal right now is to meet NATO partners in Brussels.”
The announcement of Biden’s trip comes after Vice President Kamala Harris last week visited Poland and Romania, NATO allies along Ukraine’s western borders, to voice support for the government. Ukraine and to suggest that Moscow might have to be held responsible for possible war crimes in the conflict. Zelensky is expected to ask for more economic and military aid when he delivers a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday.
Biden will join 30 NATO leaders at the hastily arranged special meeting, then plans to attend a previously scheduled European Council summit. Twenty-one of the 27 members of the European Union belong to NATO, and it is possible that close NATO allies such as Sweden and Finland will also attend the meeting.
Administration officials said the White House is considering whether Biden could continue his trip to Eastern Europe to meet with some of the refugees leaving the country.
Biden also plans to announce more defense support for Ukraine, Psaki said.
“We are at day 19,” Psaki noted of the Russian invasion.
“In addition to their incredible courage and bravery,” she said of the Ukrainians, “one of the reasons why they are able to hold back and repel the Russian army is the significant help military that we have provided”.
Biden, officials say, wants to travel to Europe to prove he is successful in unifying NATO and other European allies. But European diplomats, concerned that there are no immediate big decisions on the table, are busy proposing a major announcement or initiative that could arise from the extraordinary meeting of the Western alliance.
PSAKI ignored Russia’s announcement on Tuesday that it would impose reciprocal sanctions on senior US officials, including itself and Biden. She jokingly suggests that the Kremlin’s announcement might have missed its mark. The president, Psaki said, is a “junior, so maybe they disciplined his father by mistake.”
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