Monday Aug 8, 2022
Monday Aug 8, 2022

Biden, Western allies open 1st of 3 summits on Russian war


Nepalnews
2022 Mar 24, 15:47, Brussels

U.S. President Joe Biden and Western allies opened the first of three summits Thursday focused on increasing pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over his war in Ukraine while tending to the economic and security fallout spreading across Europe and the world.

Biden and the leaders of other NATO countries met at the alliance’s headquarters where they posed for a group photo memorializing the urgent gathering before retreating behind closed doors for their summit, which was expected to last several hours.

Over the course of Thursday, the European diplomatic capital is hosting an emergency NATO summit as well as a gathering of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and a summit of the 27 members of the European Union. Biden will attend all three meetings and plans to hold a news conference at the end of the day.

Biden arrived here late Wednesday with the hopes of nudging allies to enact new sanctions on Russia, which has already seen its economy crippled by a steady stream of bans, boycotts and penalties over the past four weeks.

While the West has been largely unified in confronting Russia after it invaded Ukraine, there’s wide acknowledgment that unity will be tested as the costs of war chip at the global economy.

The bolstering of forces along NATO’s eastern flank, almost certainly for at least the next 5-10 years if Russia is to be effectively dissuaded, will also put pressure on national budgets.

“We need to do more, and therefore we need to invest more. There is a new sense of urgency and I expect that the leaders will agree to accelerate the investments in defense,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before chairing the security alliance’s summit.

En route to Brussels aboard Air Force One, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters that “what we would like to hear is that the resolve and unity that we’ve seen for the past month will endure for as long as it takes.”

The energy crisis exacerbated by the war will be a particularly hot topic at the European Council summit, where leaders from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece are hoping for an urgent, coordinated bloc-wide response. EU officials have said they will seek U.S. help on a plan to top up natural gas storage facilities for next winter, and they also want the bloc to jointly purchase gas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed calls to boycott Russian energy supplies, saying it would cause significant damage to his country’s economy. Scholz is facing pressure from environmental activists to quickly wean Germany off Russian energy, but he said the process will have to be gradual.

“To do so from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and all of Europe into recession,” Scholz said Wednesday.

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Brussels US President Joe Biden Russian President Vladimir Putin Ukraine Europe NATO countries eastern flank Jake Sullivan reporters security alliance Germany
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