White House: Biden will travel to Poland on a tour of Europe this week

Biden will travel to Brussels first and then to Poland to meet with leaders there, Press Secretary Jane Sackie said in a statement on Sunday night.

Poland is an important ally in the Ukraine crisis. It is hosting thousands of American troops and taking more people fleeing the war in Ukraine than any other country in the biggest European refugee crisis in decades – more than 2 million.

Biden will travel to Warsaw for a bilateral meeting with President Andrzej Dudar scheduled for Saturday. Biden will discuss how the United States, along with its allies and partners, is responding to the “humanitarian and human rights crisis created by Russia’s unreasonable and unprovoked war on Ukraine.”

Ahead of his visit on Monday, Biden will discuss the war with European leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to attend, the White House said on Sunday.

White House officials say Biden has no plans to travel to Ukraine. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, while in Poland this month, briefly traveled to neighboring Ukraine to show solidarity with the country’s foreign minister, Dimitro Kulebar. Poland is one of the most vocal countries in terms of considering the involvement of fellow NATO members in curbing bloodshed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine has largely united the United States and NATO and European allies, as well as allies in Asia and elsewhere. The United States and European governments view Moscow’s military aggression as a threat to their security and strategic interests.

Biden and NATO have repeatedly said that while the United States and NATO non-NATO members will provide arms and other defense assistance to Ukraine, they are determined to avoid any escalation by Kiev that could lead to a greater war with Russia.

The Pentagon on March 9 rejected a Polish proposal to supply MiG fighter jets to Ukraine through NATO air bases, saying allied efforts against Russian aggression should focus on more useful weapons and that migration of MiGs with US and NATO ties would “drive” a high risk of escalating war. “

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the United States to provide its military with more aircraft and improved air-defense capabilities. NATO and the United States have rejected his request to establish a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine to suppress Russian air power, saying it would lead Western forces to a direct confrontation with Russia.

The resistance set by Ukrainian fighters when Russian tanks and troops entered Ukraine in late February quickly thwarted Russian forces’ efforts to storm the Ukrainian capital and overthrow the western government. Denying an easy and early victory, the Russian military is returning to the burning ground tactics of its past attacks in Syria and Chechnya and hitting population centers with airstrikes and artillery barrages that enable civilians like the port city of Mariupol to exit safely. For food or water, to bury the dead, or to escape.

After Biden initially called on European allies to join a massive embargo against Russia for the attack, his tasks now include dealing with some NATO members who are pushing for more involvement in direct combat. This includes Poland’s offer for peacekeepers.

Biden’s visit includes a summit of NATO leaders on Thursday, who will now use the meeting to strengthen the bloc’s own resistance and defense, both immediately and in the long run, to deal with the openly conflicting Putin.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that NATO’s “purpose is to show our readiness to support Ukraine, but also to show our readiness to protect and defend all NATO allies.”

“And by sending that message, we are preventing the escalation of the conflict into a full-blown war between NATO and Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO members on the alliance’s eastern front-line are also calling for improved US and British air defense systems to protect Russia from the type of missile and air strikes it is launching on Ukraine.

“We need to strengthen the eastern part of NATO. We’ve been talking about this for years, but now it’s time to act, “Estonian Prime Minister Kaza Kallas told CNN’s” State of the Union. “

He added: “We need some more capabilities to support ourselves and to defend ourselves by the air defense system, which is of course necessary here, but the troops present there also act as a deterrent to the Russian military.”

Noting that Russia is “firing missiles from so far that they can even reach Paris from where they are now firing,” Calais said European leaders must “understand that this defense is our common problem, and that this is not a theoretical discussion, but a real one.” Problems. “

Biden will also attend a summit of the European Council to discuss allied sanctions on Russia and humanitarian efforts for the millions of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion, Saki said last week.

Saki said his agenda included a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven countries to discuss the punitive financial and economic sanctions imposed by the West and its allies for Russia’s invasion.

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