Biden meets NATO allies seeking more support for Ukraine

BRUSSELS — President Biden met with NATO leaders on Thursday to agree new measures to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion and address growing concerns that Moscow is using chemical, biological or other unconventional weapons in its month-long war could.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization emergency summit is the first of a day-long series of meetings Mr. Biden has scheduled with European allies and other world leaders to discuss their next steps in helping Ukraine defend against the Russian President’s launch last month Attack set Vladimir Putin.

Faced with unexpectedly strong and deadly opposition to Ukrainian forces by Russian forces, Western leaders say they are increasingly concerned Mr Putin may resort to using weapons of mass destruction. NATO officials are wrestling with what actions by Russia would count as red lines that could lead to more direct engagement by the alliance.

The potential for chemical warfare in the conflict is “a real threat,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday as he left Washington.

“Any use of chemical weapons would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg upon his arrival at the start of the summit. He warned of the far-reaching and grave consequences of such an action, but declined to say it was a red line.

NATO has walked a tightrope in supplying arms and other support to Ukraine without being directly drawn into the fighting. Mr Stoltenberg said direct NATO involvement, such as establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, could pose high risks of escalating the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to address the NATO meeting and spend weeks in touch with politicians abroad to rally support for his country. Mr Zelensky has previously urged the state leadership to impose more sanctions on Russia, impose a no-fly zone in its skies and provide additional aid to his country.

Ukraine targeted a port facility used by Russian forces and hit a naval vessel; Biden meets world leaders in Brussels to discuss next steps with Russia; The Ukrainian President called for global rallies to mark a month of war. Photo: Ukrainian Armed Forces

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Wednesday he expects strengthening NATO’s security presence on the eastern flank — both in the short and long term — and additional military assistance to Ukraine will be topics of discussion during the organization’s extraordinary summit .

Mr Stoltenberg said Wednesday aid to Ukraine could cover a wide range of areas.

“I expect that allies will agree to provide additional support, including cybersecurity assistance, as well as equipment to help protect Ukraine from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media in Brussels.


Photo:

Evan Vucci/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Mr Biden, who arrived in Brussels on Wednesday, will also meet with leaders of the European Union and the Group of the Seven Leading Industrialized Countries. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have flown to Brussels for the meetings.

The US and EU imposed the largest coordinated package of sanctions ever imposed on a major economy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Sullivan said Mr. Biden and G-7 leaders would discuss the conflict’s economic spillover effects and announce an agreement to coordinate sanctions enforcement. The US also plans to impose a new round of sanctions against politicians and oligarchs, he said, without giving further details.

According to US officials and documents seen by the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Biden is preparing to announce sanctions against more than 300 members of Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, as early as Thursday.

During his meeting with the European Council, which brings together EU leaders, Mr Biden will discuss the humanitarian crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine, the next steps in terms of sanctions and their approach to China, particularly in context with the Russian invasion, Mr Biden said. said Sullivan.

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Mr. Biden will consult with leaders throughout the day on the possibility of Russia’s cyberattacks against the US or its allies and the possible use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, he said.

The US is expected to make an announcement Friday on improving Europe’s energy security and reducing the continent’s dependence on Russian natural gas, Sullivan said.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, NATO released estimates that Russia could have lost up to a fifth of its forces in about a month of fighting in Ukraine. US military analysts have estimated lower casualty figures.

As many as 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, wounded, captured or are missing in Ukraine, a senior NATO military official said. Russia may also have lost 10% of its equipment, affecting Moscow’s ability to maintain its pace of operations, another NATO official said. Moscow has not released updated casualty figures since it acknowledged the deaths of 498 soldiers in Ukraine on March 2.

write to Tarini Parti at Tarini.Parti@wsj.com and Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332 Biden meets NATO allies seeking more support for Ukraine

Ethan Gach

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