Who will President Biden meet on his trip to Europe?
The American leader has introduced a new stop to his scheduled European visit, adding a trip to Poland alongside NATO and EU summits on the crisis in Ukraine.
The White House has announced that President Joe Biden’s trip to Europe later this week will include a visit to Poland, the NATO nation which shares a border with Ukraine.
Tensions in Eastern Europe have reached levels not seen since the Soviet after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of 24 February. Ukraine has so-far managed to repel the invading forces but the Russian military actions have become increasingly desperate and civilians are now being actively targeted.
In a White House statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed: “On Friday, March 25, President Biden will travel to Warsaw, Poland, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Duda.”
She continued: “The President will discuss how the United States, alongside our Allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created.”
Poland is a key ally in the context of the Ukraine crisis and has already taken in more than two million refugees fleeing the war. Biden may opt to meet with some of the people displaced by Russia’s invasion, although that has not yet been confirmed.
Why is President Biden travelling to Europe?
Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine the United States, along with other NATO allies, has attempted to support the besieged Ukrainian people without provoking a global conflict. Ukraine is not a member of NATO and so not covered by the alliance’s mutual defence clause, but has received financial, humanitarian and military support.
On Thursday, 24 March Biden will take part in an extraordinary NATO summit in Brussels in a hastily organised meeting with leaders of all 30 NATO states. Biden is said to be planning to assure European leaders that NATO is acting decisively to stem Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe.
Speaking last week, Psaki told reporters: “His goal is to meet face to face with his European counterparts and talk about where we are at this point in the conflict, in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.”
After attending the NATO summit, Biden will also be present for a meeting of the European Union on the same day. Last week the EU agreed a fourth package of restrictive measures against Russia, with the explicit target of crippling the Russian economy and its ability to wage war in Ukraine.
Before heading to Europe, Biden will host a virtual meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom.
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