In The Midst Of A Clash With Putin Over Ukraine, Biden Heads To A High-stakes Nato Meeting

President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Europe on Wednesday in an effort to keep NATO members and other European partners united in their opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. With a battle lasting nearly a month and Ukrainian forces unexpectedly holding Russia at bay, Biden and other foreign leaders will try to bring the crisis to a close as soon as possible. They’ll be pressed to make announcements on further sanctions against Russia, humanitarian aid for refugees, and increased military aid to Ukraine. With the fate of Ukraine — and Russia’s role in the world — on the line, Putin and China will be watching. While Biden will be the center of attention this week, his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, plans to meet with Biden and other NATO officials and maybe exert pressure on them.

Biden will spend much of Wednesday driving from Washington to Brussels in preparation for a frenetic day of diplomacy the next day in the Belgian capital. According to the White House, Obama will attend an unusual summit of all 30 NATO leaders on Thursday, when he would discuss deterrence against Russia and “reaffirm our unshakable commitment to our NATO friends.”

Biden will also attend a pre-arranged meeting of the European Council, the European Union’s political body, and meet with leaders of the Group of Seven, or G-7, major industrial nations. Biden intends to accomplish “continuous coordination and a cohesive response” to Russia during the discussions, according to the White House. To maintain that display of unity, Biden has made working in lockstep with Europe a primary priority, at times pushing back sanctions, such as those on Russian energy.

He has also steadfastly avoided escalation by refusing to send American soldiers to Ukraine or to support a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over the nation. It’s unclear whether he’ll press partners to confront Russia more forcefully, whether by sending more soldiers to the region, offering even more provocative military aid to Ukraine, or otherwise assisting Kyiv. However, responding to Zelenskyy’s remarks to NATO leaders could be a difficulty for him on Thursday. With impassioned, sometimes frank remarks to national and international authorities, Ukraine’s president has regularly captivated the world’s attention. His blunt demands are sometimes uncomfortable for Biden and other leaders, and he has not shied away from naming and condemning those who he believes are not doing enough to help Ukraine.

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New Sanctions And Assistance Are Likely

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the president “will have the opportunity to collaborate on the next step of military support to Ukraine.” Biden and other leaders will also announce a new “package of penalties” on Russia, according to Sullivan, which will include “tightening existing sanctions to cut down on evasion and ensure robust enforcement.” “One of the important aspects of that statement will be on ensuring that there is a united effort to crack down on evasion, sanctions-busting, and any attempt by any country to help Russia, basically, undermine, weaken, or go around the sanctions,” Sullivan said.

Biden will also discuss “longer-term modifications to NATO military posture on the eastern flank,” according to Sullivan, alluding to the US and other NATO countries deploying additional soldiers to countries bordering Russia, such as Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.Sullivan continued, without explaining, that he will announce a “joint action on boosting European energy security and lowering Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.”


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