President Joe Biden plans to travel to Europe on Wednesday as he seeks to unite NATO allies and other European partners against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his attacks on Ukraine.
With nearly a month of fighting – and Ukrainian forces unexpectedly holding Russia back – Biden and other world leaders want a quick end to the conflict.
They will face pressure from Russia to announce new sanctions, humanitarian aid for refugees and additional assistance to Ukraine’s military.
Ukraine’s fate – and Russia’s place in the world – will see Putin and China hanging in balance.
And while Biden will be ordering more attention this week, he plans to talk to his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden and other NATO leaders – and talk about potential pressure.
Cyclone diplomacy on display
Biden will spend most of his trip from Washington to Brussels on Wednesday, the day before a whirlwind of diplomacy in the Belgian capital the next day.
On Thursday, he plans to attend an extraordinary summit of 30 NATO leaders, where he will discuss resistance against Russia and, according to the White House, “reaffirm our firm commitment to our NATO allies.”
Biden will attend a pre-scheduled meeting of the European Council – the political body of the European Union – and meet with leaders of the Group of Seven, or G-7, major industrialized nations.
Throughout the meeting, Biden hopes to achieve “uninterrupted coordination and a unified response” to Russia, the White House said.
Biden has made it a top priority to work with Europe on locksteps, occasionally blocking sanctions – such as on Russian power – to maintain that unity.
By refusing to send American troops to Ukraine or to support a NATO-initiated no-fly zone over the country, he has been determined to avoid a wider conflict.
It remains to be seen whether sending more troops to the region, providing more provocative military assistance to Ukraine, or otherwise directly assisting Kiev – will push the Allies more directly against Russia.
Although a challenge he may face on Thursday, NATO leaders responded to Zelenskyy’s remarks.
Ukraine’s leaders have repeatedly drawn the world’s attention to the occasion, moving away from national and international bodies, sometimes with blunt speeches. His direct demands sometimes exceed the comfort level of Biden and other leaders, and he does not believe that he is doing enough to support Ukraine and does not shy away from naming and embarrassing them.
New sanctions and help expected
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the president “will have the opportunity to coordinate the next phase of military assistance to Ukraine.”
Biden and other leaders will also announce a new “sanctions package” on Russia, which would include “tightening existing sanctions to curb volatility and ensure strong enforcement,” Sullivan said.
“One of the key elements of this declaration will not only focus on the addition of new sanctions,” Sullivan said, “but to ensure that there is a concerted effort to implement sanctions in order to thwart any attempt by any country to help Russia.” Basically, to weaken, to weaken, or to go around sanctions. “
Biden will also discuss with the leaders “long-term coordination of the approach of NATO forces to the east,” Sullivan said, referring to the deployment of additional troops by the United States and other NATO countries bordering Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. Latvia.
And he will announce a joint action “to increase European energy security and reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas,” Sullivan added, without elaborating.
Focus on the millions of displaced Ukrainian, US troops
In Brussels, Biden will “announce more American contributions” to help the 3.5 million Ukrainians who have fled the country and the millions more internally displaced, according to Sullivan.
On Friday, the president will travel to Poland, where he will “join US troops” – deploying thousands of troops there in response to the attack – and on Saturday, meet with Polish President Andrzej Dudar. Poland has accepted more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees.
“This is the right place for him to be able to see the troops, see the humanitarian experts and meet the frontline and very weak allies,” Sullivan said.
White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie said this week that “No plans“The White House has not explored that option for Biden to travel to Ukraine.”
Putin, China is watching
Biden said on Monday that “I am confident in one thing, I know Putin fairly well – and, I suppose, another leader can know each other – that he is counting on NATO to be able to split. He never thought NATO would be stable – completely.” , Stay united. “
“And I can assure you,” he told a group of chief executives that “because of Vladimir Putin, NATO has never been stronger or more united than it is today.”
Indeed, Russia’s invasion has united NATO against it. And a month of crushing sanctions has crippled Russia’s economy and left Putin largely isolated.
In Brussels, world leaders decided to increase pressure on Putin in a way that could further change Putin’s calculus – and end the war, perhaps by giving him a clear off-ramp – to determine the length and course of the conflict.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Russian troops continue to hit Ukrainian cities and kill civilians, even preventing Ukrainians from claiming their big victories and toppling the Kiev government.
And it’s not clear what the off-ramp might be. “Against Putin’s back wall,” Biden said Monday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will also visit. In a call last week, Biden warned him of the consequences of providing aid to Russia, according to the White House.
Sullivan told ABC News’ Elizabeth Schulz on Tuesday that since last week, the United States has not “seen” China supplying military equipment to Russia because of concerns about China.
The degree to which Biden is able to bring European leaders to the board with possible Chinese sanctions could also determine whether Xi decides to support Putin or stay out of the fight.