World

Biden’s Meeting With Eastern European Leaders Will Cap His Trip


WARSAW – If Russian President Vladimir V. Putin sends tanks into other European countries, the nine countries along NATO’s eastern flank would be the most likely targets.

So on Wednesday, President Biden will meet with the leaders of those countries, offering reassurance that the United States stands ready to protect the most vulnerable members of the coalition from this kind of attack. currently taking place in Ukraine.

The meeting, scheduled to take place just hours before Mr. Biden wraps up a three-day visit to Ukraine and Poland, was meant to underscore his administration’s resolve to confront Putin and prevent him from making threats. some of the more fragile democracies in the world.

John Kirby, a senior spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters ahead of the president’s trip: “Most of this is a group of NATO allies on the eastern flank who are basically and quite frankly, are literally on the front lines of our collective defense system. .

Kirby said the president will meet with the leaders of nine countries — Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia — to “reaffirm the unwavering support of the United States of America.” United States for the security of that alliance and for transatlantic unity.”

In a speech from the royal castle in Warsaw on Tuesday, Mr. Biden was adamant about America’s commitment to defending the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization, claiming that the guarantee of support for any Any alliance under threat “is as solid as a rock. And every member of NATO knows that. And Russia knows that too.”

But the threat of direct military intervention is less theoretical for Poland, Hungary and other countries whose borders are not further from Russian territory than for Britain, France or Spain.

For those countries, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago was not only a threat to democratic principle, but also a roadmap to an invasion that could quickly engulf cities. theirs into the shadow of war.

Aware of that particular threat, in 2015 the leaders of nine countries came together to discuss the steps they could take to reduce the risk. Wednesday’s meeting with the US president will be the most urgent and high-level meeting since the group was formed eight years ago.

For Mr. Biden, this will be another opportunity to praise NATO’s solidarity in the face of Putin’s actions. During a press conference last week, Mr. Kirby said the group would focus on maintaining unity of purpose even as the war in Ukraine drags on.

White House officials say the United States and its allies will soon announce tougher sanctions on Russia aimed at increasing Putin’s war costs.

“The leaders will discuss our efforts over the past year to strengthen NATO, which is stronger and more united than before – more than ever before, and how each of our countries is,” he said. We will continue to work together.”

After the meeting, Mr. Biden is expected to leave Poland and return to Washington, ending a trip abroad that began with a top-secret visit to the Ukrainian capital.

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