Saturday, December 3, 2022

Biden will visit Poland, home of 2 million Ukrainian refugees, during Europe trip

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President Biden will stop in Poland during his visit to Europe this week amid urgent talks with NATO and European allies, the White House announced.

Biden will keep his initial itinerary by traveling to Brussels, Belgium, before he heads to Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday night.

Poland has been directly impacted by the Ukraine-Russia War, having taken in over two million of Ukraine’s three million refugees. Poland also houses U.S. troops.

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In Warsaw, Biden will meet with President Andrzej Duda to discuss how the U.S. and its allies can do mo to help “the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created,” Psaki said.

President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One, Friday, March 18, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Poland has repeatedly asked NATO countries to be more active in aiding Ukraine against the invading Russian forces, even going as far as to propose a plan to the U.S. that would provide MiG fighter jets to Ukraine via a NATO airbase. The Pentagon rejected the plan, saying the MiG transfer would pose a “high risk” in potentially escalating the Ukrainian-Russian war on an international level. 

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Biden’s Europe trip includes a summit on Thursday with NATO leaders, who will seek to use their allied strength to bolster international defenses and send a message of deterrence to Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

The summit will show NATO’s “support to Ukraine, but also our readiness to protect and defend all NATO allies,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

President Joe Biden speaks at the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 17, 2022.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Stoltenberg added: “And by sending that message, we are preventing an escalation of the conflict to a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia.”

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Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas, similarly described the interests of the meeting as building up the Eastern bloc countries against Russia.

“We have to strengthen our eastern flank of NATO. We have been talking about this for years, but now it’s time for action,″ Kallas told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

She added: “We need some more capabilities to support ourselves and defend ourselves by air defense systems, what is definitely necessary here, but also the troops that are present that act as a deterrent also to the Russian military.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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