(Washington, DC) — President Joe Biden will travel to Europe next week for face-to-face meetings with European leaders over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
Biden will meet with European leaders at an extraordinary NATO summit in Brussels on March 24. He will also attend a scheduled European Council summit where sanctions efforts and other humanitarian efforts are underway.
“While he’s there, his goal is to meet face-to-face with his European counterparts and talk about assessing where we are at this point in the conflict over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We’ve been incredibly matched so far,” said Psaki. “It doesn’t happen by accident. The President is a firm believer in face-to-face diplomacy. So it’s an opportunity to do just that.”
The White House announced the president’s trip just before Biden signed legislation Tuesday that would provide Ukraine with an additional $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance as part of a $1.5 trillion government spending measure -dollars.
Biden said at the signing ceremony that the US is “urgently working to further increase support for the brave people of Ukraine in defending their country.”
The trip follows Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit last week to NATO’s eastern flank countries Poland and Romania to discuss with leaders the growing refugee crisis in Eastern Europe, sparked by the Russian invasion and to underscore the Biden administration’s support for NATO allies.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said on Tuesday that Biden’s visit to Poland was “very likely” if he came to Europe. According to the United Nations, more than 1.8 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the war began. More than 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russians launched their invasion.
“One can hardly imagine a better place for the United States and the entire alliance to emphasize its position than Poland, the brightest link on the eastern flank,” Rau told Polish state broadcaster TVP INFO.
Psaki said she has no further details on whether Biden will visit Poland during the trip.
The White House announcement of Biden’s visit to Brussels came on the same day that the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia boarded the train to Kyiv to demonstrate their support for Ukraine, despite the security risks. It was a visit that EU officials said was not sanctioned by other members of the 27-nation bloc.
Daniel Hamilton, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said Biden’s trip to Europe comes as the White House seeks to maintain largely unified Western opposition to Russia since the invasion.
“As the war rages on, it is important for the President to show that he is not sitting comfortably across the Atlantic, but that he is part of the coalition meeting with European counterparts in Europe and that the United States is a European power,” Hamilton said. non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington.
Associated Press writers Monika Scislowska and Tracy Brown contributed coverage.
https://time.com/6157678/biden-travel-europe-ukraine/ Joe Biden will travel to Europe for Ukraine talks with European leaders