Biden visits Poland as US, European Commission affirm commitment to deterring Putin

US President Joe Biden visits Poland on Friday to support allied responses to the humanitarian and human rights crises sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as allies take further steps to deter the president Russian Vladimir Putin.

Poland, a NATO ally, has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Biden met with US troops stationed at Jasionka near the Polish-Ukrainian border awaiting the arrival of Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Duda was delayed when his plane suffered a mechanical problem en route, forcing him to return to the Polish capital, Warsaw. Officials said Duda was never in danger and the Polish leader eventually arrived in the eastern city of Rzeszów to meet Biden.

Biden’s arrival in Poland came hours after he met in Brussels on Friday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, after which they announced the formation of a joint task force to reduce dependence on the country. Europe to Russian Fossil Fuels.

Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin used profits from his energy sales “to drive his war machine” in Ukraine. Biden said he wanted “to make it clear that the American people will not be involved in financing Putin’s brutal and unwarranted war against the Ukrainian people.”

“We are determined to stand up against Russia’s brutal war,” von der Leyen said. “This war will be a strategic failure for Putin.”

The United States is supplying Europe with 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas this year.

During his visit to Poland, Biden will receive a briefing at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport on the Allied response to the humanitarian crisis and the growing number of refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine.

Biden also met on Friday in Rzeszów with members of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which supports thousands of other NATO troops in countries on the eastern flank, including Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, the United States. Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania.

In Ukraine, Russian forces are “hesitating” east of the capital kyiv, British Defense Ministry official Mick Smeath said on Friday, denying Putin’s attempt to seize the capital.

Smeath told reporters that the “Ukrainian counterattacks” and the withdrawal of Russian forces allowed the Ukrainian army “to reoccupy towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometers east of Kyiv”.

Russia’s push to the southwestern port city of Odessa “is hampered by logistical problems and Ukrainian resistance,” Smeath said.

On Thursday, Biden said there would be a Western military response if Russia used chemical weapons in Ukraine.

“That would trigger an in-kind response,” Biden responded to a reporter’s question at a press conference. “Whether or not you ask if NATO will go through (in Ukraine to confront Russian forces), we will make that decision then.”

He also told NATO headquarters that Russia should be removed from the Group of 20 major economies and Ukraine should be allowed to attend G-20 meetings.

Biden confirmed the issue was raised during his meetings with other world leaders on Thursday as they marked a month since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Asked if Ukraine has to cede territory to reach a ceasefire with Russia, Biden replied: ‘I don’t think they will have to,’ but it is a decision. to be taken by kyiv.

During his press conference, Biden said the United States is committing more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance “to help bring relief to millions of Ukrainians affected by the war in Ukraine.”

“With a focus on family reunification,” the United States will welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and invest $320 million to support democratic resilience and defend human rights in Ukraine and neighboring countries, said President.

NATO also announced on Thursday that the defense alliance would boost its capabilities after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the organization’s leaders to provide more armaments to his country “without limits” as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is entering its second month.

Zelenskyy’s call came as Biden met with NATO leaders to discuss their short- and long-term response to the Russian invasion.

Addressing the summit via video, Zelenskyy said his army needed improved fighter jets, tanks and air and sea defense systems as he warned Russia would attack NATO member Poland , and other Eastern European countries.

“Russia has no intention of stopping in Ukraine,” he said. “He wants to go further. Against the eastern members of NATO. The Baltic states. Poland, of course.”

A White House statement released on Thursday said that “between now and the NATO summit in June, we will develop plans for additional forces and capabilities to strengthen NATO defenses.”

A Biden administration official told reporters that Zelenskyy on Thursday did not reiterate his demand for a no-fly zone, which NATO had previously rejected on the grounds that it would lead to a direct conflict between the NATO and Russia.

NATO members said in a joint statement after the summit that they would “accelerate” their commitment to invest at least 2% of their national budgets in the alliance, enabling a significant strengthening of its “posture of deterrence and long-term defence.

The alliance also pledged to “further develop the full range of ready forces and capabilities needed to maintain credible deterrence and defence.”

In addition to participating in the NATO talks, Biden met Thursday with G-7 leaders and the European Council.

The White House on Thursday announced a new round of sanctions targeting 48 Russian state-owned defense companies and more than 400 Russian politicians, oligarchs and other entities — a move Biden said is being carried out in alignment with the European Union .

Britain said on Thursday its new sanctions package includes freezing the assets of Gazprombank, a main oil and gas payment channel, as well as Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s top private lenders. Oil tycoon Evgeny Shvidler, Sberbank CEO Herman Gref and Polina Kovaleva, the daughter-in-law of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, are among those sanctioned.

China criticized the sanctions imposed on Russia and drew Biden’s attention to failing to help Russia evade the measures.

Asked about his recent phone conversation on the subject with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said he made clear to Xi “the consequences of his aid to Russia,” but, he noted, “I don’t made no threat”.

Chief National Correspondent Steve Herman, National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin and UN Correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

Some information comes from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Aurora J. William