Amidst Ukraine Crisis, US President Joe Biden plans to travel to Poland
Joe Biden will travel to Brussels first, then to Poland on Friday to meet with leaders, according to Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki. He’ll speak about how the international community is dealing with “the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s attack on Ukraine has caused.”
As Russian forces concentrate their fire on cities and trapped residents in a nearly month-old invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has added a visit in Poland to his journey to Europe this week for urgent consultations with NATO and European allies. Joe Biden will travel to Brussels first, then to Poland on Friday to meet with leaders, according to Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki. Poland has been a critical ally of Ukraine during the Russian Invasion. It is hosting thousands of American troops and has taken in more people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine — over 2 million — than any other country in the midst of Europe’s worst refugee crisis in decades.
On Friday, Biden will go to Warsaw for a meeting with President Andrzej Duda. Biden will speak about how the US is reacting to “the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine has caused,” according to Psaki.
According to White House sources, Biden has no plans to visit Ukraine. While in Poland earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken swiftly traveled to Ukraine to express his sympathies with Dmytro Kuleba, the country’s foreign minister. Poland has been one of the most vocal in its call for fellow NATO countries to consider raising their participation in order to limit the bloodshed.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin has generally unified the United States, NATO, and European allies, as well as partners in Asia and elsewhere. Moscow’s military aggression is seen as a danger to the US and European nations’ security and geopolitical interests.
While the US and NATO will supply weapons and other defensive support to non-NATO member Ukraine, Biden and NATO have stated repeatedly that they are determined to prevent any escalation on Kyiv’s behalf that may lead to a larger confrontation with Russia. On March 9, the Pentagon rejected a Polish proposal to supply Ukraine with MiG fighter jets via a NATO airbase, stating that allied efforts against the Russian invasion should focus on more useful weaponry and that the MiG transfer with a US and NATO connection would have a “high risk” of escalating the war.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has pleaded with the United States to give more aircraft and advanced air-defense systems to his forces. His requests for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine to reduce Russian air power have been rebuffed by NATO and the US, which argue that it would place Western forces in direct conflict with Russian forces.
When Russian tanks and troops moved into Ukraine in late February, Ukrainian fighters put up a resolute battle, quickly defeating Russian attempts to storm Kyiv and destabilize the country’s westward-looking government. Due to the lack of an easy and quick victory, Russia’s military is reverting to the scorched earth tactics used in previous offensives in Syria and Chechnya, pounding population centers with airstrikes and artillery barrages, allowing civilians in Mariupol to safely go out for food and water, bury the dead, or flee.
Biden’s responsibilities now include dealing with certain NATO members who are pushing for more direct involvement in the war after he got European allies to participate in sweeping penalties against Russia for the invasion at the outset. This comprises Poland’s peacekeeping plans. Biden’s trip includes a NATO summit on Thursday, where leaders will discuss how to improve the bloc’s own deterrence and defense, both now and in the future, in order to deal with Putin, who has become openly antagonistic.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the meeting is meant to highlight NATO’s “support for Ukraine, as well as our readiness to protect and defend all NATO countries.” Front-line NATO allies on the alliance’s eastern flank are also requesting upgraded US and British air defense systems to counter the missile and air attacks Russia is launching against Ukraine.
“We have to strengthen our eastern flank of NATO. We have been talking about this for years, but now it’s time for action,″ Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, told CNN’s ”State of the Union.” She added: “We need some more capabilities to support ourselves and defend ourselves by air defense systems, which is definitely necessary here, but also the troops that are present that act as a deterrent also to the Russian military.”
“This defense is our common issue, and it’s not a theoretical talk, but a real-life issue,” Kallas said, adding that Russia is launching missiles “from such a vast range that they can also reach Paris from where they are shooting right now.”
According to Psaki, Joe Biden will also attend a European Council session to discuss the partners’ sanctions against Russia and humanitarian assistance for the millions of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s attacks. Moreover, in consonance with Psaki, his itinerary includes a meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven countries to discuss the harsh financial and economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West and its allies in response to its invasion.
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