Tags: biden | nato | russia | nuclear | warning

Biden to Meet Eastern NATO Allies in Wake of Putin's Nuclear Warning

Wednesday, 22 February 2023 08:52 AM EST

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet leaders of NATO's eastern flank on Wednesday to show support for their security after Moscow suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty.

Biden arrived in Warsaw late on Monday after a surprise visit to Kyiv just days ahead of the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

During the period of highest tension between Russia and the West in the decades since the Cold War, Biden addressed thousands in downtown Warsaw on Tuesday and said "autocrats" like Russian President Vladimir Putin must be opposed.

Hours earlier, Putin delivered lengthy remarks laden with criticism of the Western powers, blaming them for the war in Ukraine. Putin also backed away from the New START arms control treaty - a 2010 agreement that limits the number of Russian and U.S. deployed strategic nuclear warheads - and warned that Moscow could resume nuclear tests.

On Wednesday, Biden will meet staff from the U.S. embassy in Warsaw before gathering leaders of the Bucharest Nine, the countries on NATO's eastern flank such as Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania who joined the Western military alliance after being dominated by Moscow during the Cold War.

Most are among the strongest supporters of military aid to Ukraine, and officials from countries in the group have called for additional resources such as air defense systems.

At the meeting, Biden plans to reaffirm commitments over their security and discuss support for Ukraine before he returns to Washington.

Russia regards NATO, which could soon expand to include Sweden and Finland, as an existential threat.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda's message to Biden will be that it wants greater involvement of the United States in Europe, NATO's eastern flank and more weapons sent to Ukraine.

"Let's give Ukraine all the weapons it needs to defeat the aggressor," Nauseda tweeted on Wednesday.

"Let's continue building up our own defenses. Eastern #NATO flank must remain in our focus. No soft spots should be left."

The former Soviet republic on Russia's doorstep joined NATO in 2004 and plans to host Biden in July for the security alliance's leaders' summit.

Not all of the Bucharest Nine have been quite so ready to aid Ukraine, notably Hungary, which has pushed back on some EU sanctions on Russia and along with Turkey is the only NATO member still to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto urged a ceasefire and peace talks over Ukraine to prevent further escalation of the war into a broader conflict, a line at odds with calls for outright Ukrainian victory among many of its neighbors.

"Having seen and listened to the speeches by the presidents of the U.S. and Russia yesterday, I think they would have made humanity a much bigger service by talking to each other," Szijjarto told a news conference in Budapest.

Before flying to Warsaw for the meeting on Wednesday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala reiterated the importance of helping Ukraine.

"The Ukrainians are fighting extremely bravely," Fiala said.

"But they cannot do it without our help, and they cannot do it without the help of big, powerful countries that have the means and the ability to do it," he said. 

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
U.S. President Joe Biden will meet leaders of NATO's eastern flank on Wednesday to show support for their security after Moscow suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty. Biden arrived in Warsaw late on Monday after a surprise visit to Kyiv just days ahead of the...
biden, nato, russia, nuclear, warning
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2023-52-22
Wednesday, 22 February 2023 08:52 AM
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