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15 Mar, 2022 18:46

Biden to visit Europe amid Ukraine conflict

White House says president will attend NATO summit and meet with EU leaders
Biden to visit Europe amid Ukraine conflict

US President Joe Biden will visit Europe next week to attend a NATO summit in Brussels, convened in response to Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, and meet with EU leaders to discuss sanctions on Moscow, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

Biden will join the leaders of NATO in Brussels, Belgium next Thursday to “discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts” and “reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies," Psaki told reporters at a press conference. 

The meeting was convened in response to Russia’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine. In a separate press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Ukrainian conflict has given rise to a “new security reality” in Europe, that NATO must prepare for by increasing defense spending and positioning more forces on the continent.

Biden “will also join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including transatlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support…and address other challenges related to the conflict," Psaki added.

Both the US and EU have heavily sanctioned Russia, imposing penalties on Russian leaders and businesspeople, cutting the country off from the SWIFT banking network, and in Biden’s case, stopping all Russian energy imports.

The visit will mark Biden’s first trip to Europe since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Eastern Europe last week, while Secretary of State Tony Blinken visited Belgium, Poland, Moldova and the Baltic states at the beginning of the month.

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