NATO is pressing for more support from US allies in the wake of Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden met with a group including British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to discuss defense spending contributions. The meeting comes after NATO members agreed to increase their military budgets by 4% this year.
BRUSSELS— President Biden met with NATO leaders on Thursday to agree on additional steps to assist Ukraine in combating Russia’s invasion, as well as to address mounting worries that Moscow may deploy chemical, biological, or other unconventional weapons in its month-long conflict.
The emergency summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the first of a day-long series of meetings that Mr. Biden has scheduled with European allies and other world leaders as they plot out their next steps in aiding Ukraine’s defense against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack last month.
Western policymakers are becoming concerned that Russian troops may resort to employing weapons of mass destruction in the face of unexpectedly strong and devastating pushback from Ukrainian soldiers. Officials from NATO are debating whether acts by Russia might be considered red lines, triggering more direct participation from the alliance.
Chemical weapons is a “serious danger” in the battle, Mr. Biden said as he departed Washington on Wednesday.
After the conference, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “Allies decided to contribute equipment to assist Ukraine guard against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.” He mentioned devices to detect and guard against such weapons, as well as medical care and decontamination equipment.
NATO’s chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense troops have also been activated, he added. “We’re taking steps to help Ukraine as well as to protect ourselves,” he added.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed NATO leaders, pleading for further assistance and bemoaning the fact that replies have not always been forthcoming. “You must have 20,000 tanks!” Ukraine has requested that 1% of all your tanks be donated or sold to them! However, we do not yet have a definitive answer. “During the battle, the hardest thing is not getting clear replies to demands for assistance,” he stated.
According to top Biden administration officials, he did not renew his call for NATO participation or a no-fly zone.
Mr. Stoltenberg, whose mandate was extended until 2023 during the turmoil, said, “We are resolved to do all we can to help Ukraine.” He also reaffirmed the alliance’s goal of welcoming new members with open arms. The thought of nations close to Moscow joining the Western alliance has long irritated Moscow.
NATO has been treading a fine line between supplying Ukraine with guns and other assistance while avoiding becoming fully involved in the battle. Direct NATO engagement, like as imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Mr. Stoltenberg warned, might increase the danger of the conflict spreading.
Mr. Biden underlined the need of strengthening NATO’s eastern flank in his speech at the NATO meeting, sources said, and said he appreciated commitments of greater military investment from other nations.
NATO chiefs decided to send additional battle groups to the eastern flank, bringing the total number of battle groups to eight.
Ukraine struck a Russian navy ship at a port facility; Biden meets international leaders in Brussels to discuss future actions with Russia; Ukraine’s president called for worldwide protests to commemorate one month of conflict. Ukraine’s Armed Forces (photo)
The possibility of Russia using chemical weapons was discussed with NATO leaders, according to officials, who said that the alliance needs to continue to prepare for and react to many situations.
Some members are also concerned about chemical agents being released accidentally. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jana remarked ahead of the NATO conference, “We are worried when Russian aggressor troops bomb chemical companies and similar sites.” “This might result in a massive calamity.”
Officials claimed that allies also brought up the need to urge China not to back Russia in its conflict with Ukraine.
Mr. Biden will meet with leaders of the European Union and the Group of Seven top industrial nations after arriving in Brussels on Wednesday. Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister of Japan, and Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, have gone to Brussels for the talks.
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, speaks to the media in Brussels.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/evan vucci
In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and EU have implemented the largest coordinated package of sanctions ever leveled against a major economy.
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G-7 leaders will examine the conflict’s economic spillover consequences, according to senior Biden administration officials, and will announce an agreement on coordinating sanctions implementation. In addition, the US placed fresh sanctions on over 400 political officials, oligarchs, and military corporations.
According to US authorities, Mr. Biden’s fresh sanctions would affect more than 300 members of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, as well as 17 board members of Russian financial institution Sovcombank, Herman Gref, the CEO of Sberbank, and prominent Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko. The second set of penalties will target 48 significant Russian state-owned military companies, according to the White House.
The G-7 and EU, according to the White House, will also launch a new effort targeted at stopping Russia from dodging existing sanctions. One example, according to US officials, will be shutting off avenues for the Russian central bank to prop up the currency.
On Thursday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausda said sanctions should target Russia’s middle class, despite indicators that public support for Mr. Putin is strengthening.
Mr. Biden offered more than $1 billion in fresh funds at his meeting with the European Council, which brings together EU national leaders, to address humanitarian needs resulting from the crisis in Ukraine, as well as serious global consequences, such as a sharp increase in food insecurity.
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According to administration officials, the US would also open its doors to 100,000 Ukrainians and anyone fleeing Russia’s invasion. Since the crisis in Ukraine started, more than 3.6 million people have fled, the majority to Poland.
Mr. Sullivan predicted that the US will make a statement on Friday about improving European energy security and lowering the continent’s reliance on Russian natural gas.
Russia may have lost as much as a quarter of its combat personnel in almost a month of fighting in Ukraine, according to NATO estimates issued before of Thursday’s conference. Military experts in the United States have predicted lower casualty statistics.
According to a senior NATO military officer, up to 40,000 Russian servicemen have been killed, injured, kidnapped, or gone missing in Ukraine. Another NATO officer speculated that Russia may have lost 10% of its equipment, limiting Moscow’s ability to continue its current tempo. Since admitting the deaths of 498 personnel in Ukraine on March 2, Moscow has not given updated fatality data.
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