Tuesday. 29.11.2022
WAR IN UKRAINE

Biden joins NATO, EU leaders in show of unity against Russia

The question of a fifth round of sanctions on Russia divides the EU: Germany and the Netherlands are among those who want a pause to review the four rounds already adopted., but Poland and the Baltics are pushing for further measures
23 March 2022, Belgium, Steenokkerzeel: Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) welcomes US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at the military airport in Melsbroek. Biden is to discuss the conflict in Ukraine with EU leaders at a summit on Thursday, following a meeting of NATO leaders Photo: Benoit Doppagne/BELGA/dpa.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) welcomes US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at the military airport in Melsbroek. Photo: Benoit Doppagne/dpa.

US President Joe Biden is meeting NATO and EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in a show of trans-Atlantic unity exactly one month after the start of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Biden joins Western allies for a special meeting of NATO leaders, a G7 summit and an EU leaders' summit for talks on how to support the Ukrainian people, how to further punish Russia and the long-term changes necessary to ensure Europe's security.

A proposal to strengthen NATO's eastern flank with permanent troop deployments, supported by air and naval power, is still on the table. The move would mark a violation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act, and would likely escalate tensions with Russia.

A day before the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the deployment of four new battle groups to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in response to Russia's invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is to address Biden and the 29 other NATO leaders via video link, and will speak to Biden and EU leaders later in the day.

The Ukrainian leader continues to push for the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect his country from Russian airstrikes, though NATO has repeatedly dismissed the request.

At the two-day EU leaders' summit, Biden is to discuss US support for the European Union as it seeks to end its dependency on Russian energy imports.

Further sanctions

The White House said further sanctions on Russia are also to be announced in Brussels.

The question of a fifth round of sanctions on Russia divides the EU. Germany and the Netherlands are among those who want a pause to review the four rounds already adopted. Poland and the Baltics are pushing for further measures.

Leaders warned against any escalation of the conflict, for example the use of chemical weapons, but said NATO would not back down.

"Any use of chemical weapons would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict - it would be a blatant violation of international law, and it will have widespread and severe consequences," Stoltenberg said.

"There is a risk always for contamination ... we can see the spread of chemical agents also into NATO territory," he said.

Estonian leader: 'Stop the war criminal'

The Kremlin leader is taking steps "to make us afraid" and "deter us from helping Ukraine further or making additional steps," said Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

"We should definitely not fall into that trap - we have to stop the war criminal," she said.

The EU summit is also expected to decide on a solidarity fund that will be used to rebuild Ukraine after the end of the war.

EU member states make up a majority of NATO with 21 members. Germany, France and Italy are also members of the G7 group of industrialized nations.

Biden joins NATO, EU leaders in show of unity against Russia
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