More than 2 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since Russia began invading their country. In Brussels on Thursday, Biden pledges US$1 billion in humanitarian assistance to refugees fleeing invasion and suggested that he might meet some of them privately.
“I hope I get to meet a lot of people,” he said after a series of summits with key US allies.
Before leaving Brussels, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss allies’ cooperation in responding to the Russian invasion. The two leaders will make a joint statement to the press after the meeting.
Later in Rzeszów, Poland, Biden will receive a news conference on the humanitarian response to the suffering of civilians inside Ukraine and the response to the influx of refugees fleeing the country. He will then meet with US service members in the 82nd Airborne Division, who have been deployed to Poland in recent weeks to help bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
Biden will end the day by traveling to Warsaw, where on Saturday he will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and deliver remarks on united efforts to support the Ukrainian people and hold Russia accountable for fight.
LATEST EVENTS:Map and track Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
►The Council of the European Union concludes Russia’s war in Ukraine “seriously violates international law” following a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Thursday.
► The Russian military says it will provide safe passage for foreign ships stranded in Ukrainian ports.
► Ukraine on Thursday accused Moscow of forcibly transferring hundreds of thousands of civilians from Ukraine’s crumbling cities to Russia, where some could be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up . Lyudmyla Denisova, the inspector of Ukraine, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, were arrested against their will.
In a speech in Ukraine late on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of hope and determination as the war enters its second month.
“It is already night time. But we are working,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “The country must move towards peace, forward. With each day of our protection, we are getting closer to the peace we so desperately need. We are getting closer to victory. … We couldn’t stop even for a minute.
Earlier in the week, Zelenskyy urged people around the world to gather in public to show support for his thriving country. “Come to your square, your street. Make yourself seen and heard,” he said.
A local government official said Russian troops were targeting food stores in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.
In an audio message sent to the AP news agency, city council secretary Olexander Lomako said a “catastrophe” was happening in the northern city. Lomako added that a Russian air strike destroyed a bridge over the Desna River this week, a key route for bringing food and other supplies from Ukrainian-controlled territory toward male.
“Humanitarian help, medicine and food have been delivered to the city across this bridge,” he told the Associated Press.
Lomako says less than half of the residents, about 130,000, remain in the city, compared with a pre-war population of 285,000.
– Celina Tebor
ONE majority of Americans support harsh sanctions against Russia but believes Biden needs to get tougher on the Kremlin in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, according to a poll commissioned by the Associated Press and the NORC released on Thursday.
The poll, which surveyed 1,082 American adults Thursday through Monday, found that 56% of Americans believe Biden’s response to Russia has not been tough enough, including a majority of 53% of Democrats. A very small percentage, about 6%, say they think Biden has been “too tough,” the poll found.
Around the world, Americans of both political parties support the harsh economic blow to Russia. The poll found that 68% support economic sanctions overall, with 70% saying they support the recent ban on oil imports from Russia, which has sent gas prices up.
– Christal Hayes
Contribution: Associated Press