Mar 23, 2022: U.S President Joe Biden left for Europe on Wednesday in a bid to bolster Western alliance with Europe, impose unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and try to upset the balance of power post Cold War.
The dispute with Russian President Vladimir Putin is redefining Biden’s 14-month-old presidency as he focuses on domestic concerns to lead the Trans-Atlantic Alliance into Europe’s worst crisis in decades.
Biden will attend summits with NATO, the G7 group and the European Council. He flies Friday to Poland, which neighbors Ukraine and is now the frontline in what some call a new Cold War, and on Saturday he meets President Andrzej Duda.
Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden has put the accent on unity. At back-to-back summits in Brussels on Thursday, he’ll be pushing for more. In this regard, U.S National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden will seek to “reinforce the incredible unity we built with allies and partners.”
Speaking about Russian sanctions, a further package will be “rolled out in conjunction with our allies on Thursday,” Sullivan said. He gave no details, other than to say the package “will focus not just on adding new sanctions but on ensuring that there is joint effort to crack down on evasion on sanctions.”
According to U.S officials, Russia’s ability to cope with military losses and its crushing of Western economic sanctions may depend in part on the position of its dictatorial ally China. Beijing has refused to condemn Putin’s war, but the U.S hopes to at least stop China from actively supporting the Kremlin, either by bailing out the Russian economy or by sending arms.
Sullivan said there was no indication that China was providing military assistance after a nearly two-hour phone call between President Xi Jinping and Biden last Friday.
“The president will certainly consult on the question of China’s potential participation in the conflict of Ukraine while he’s in Brussels. He’ll do so at NATO,” Sullivan said.
“He’ll also do so when he addresses the 27 leaders of the European Union, because on April 1st, the European Union is having a summit with China,” he added.
“We believe we’re very much on the same page with our European partners.”
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