Biden to visit Poland during trip to Europe for talks on Ukraine crisis

Biden will travel to Warsaw on 25 March where he will hold a bilateral meet with Andrzej Duda

Rituparna Chatterjee
Monday 21 March 2022 13:01
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Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal'

US president Joe Biden will travel to Poland during his Europe trip to discuss international efforts to support Ukraine and impose “severe and unprecedented costs” on Russia for its invasion, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Mr Biden will hold a bilateral meeting on 25 March with president Andrzej Duda to discuss how the US, alongside its allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian crisis that Russia’s war on Ukraine has created.

The visit will follow his meetings in Brussels, Belgium, with America’s NATO allies, G7 leaders, and European Union leaders, the White House said.

On Monday, Mr Biden will speak with French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, and British prime minister Boris Johnson to discuss their coordinated responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The talks come amid a dire warning by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky of a “third world war” if talks with Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, fail to achieve peace.

“If these attempts fail, that would mean ... a third world war,” he told CNN via video link on Sunday. Russia has demanded that Ukrainians put down their arms and raise white flags on Monday in exchange for safe passage out of town, an offer Ukraine angrily rejected.

The offer came hours after officials said Russian forces had bombed an art school that was sheltering some 400 people, as Russia continued to bombard the besieged city of Mariupol.Mariupol residents were given until 5am Monday to respond to the offer.

Mr Biden’s travel to Brussels, Belgium, is due on 23 March, followed by a NATO Summit to discuss the “ongoing deterrence and defence efforts in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”

“The President will reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO Allies and to defend every inch of NATO territory,” the White House said.

Poland is a crucial ally in the Ukraine crisis. It is hosting thousands of American troops and is taking in more people fleeing the war in Ukraine — more than 2 million — than any other nation in the midst of the largest European refugee crisis in decades.

White House officials have said Biden has no plans to travel to Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while in Poland this month, briefly crossed into neighbouring Ukraine in a show of solidarity alongside that country’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

Poland has been one of the most vocal countries in asking fellow NATO members to consider getting more involved to rein in the bloodshed.

The Pentagon on 9 March rejected a Polish proposal for providing Ukraine with MiG fighter jets via a NATO air base, saying allied efforts against the Russian invasion should focus on more useful weaponry and that the MiG transfer with a US and NATO connection would run a “high risk” of escalating the war.

(Additional reporting from agencies)

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