President to Travel to Europe Next Week for NATO Summit
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels, Belgium, next week to attend a hastily arranged North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit meeting before attending a meeting of the European Union later that day, the White House announced Tuesday.
Both meetings will take place on March 24, and both will focus on the ongoing, multinational effort to respond to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“His goal is to meet face to face with his European counterparts and talk about where we are at this point in the conflict, in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,’’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve been incredibly aligned to date. That doesn’t happen by accident,” Psaki said.
In the meantime, Russia stepped up its bombardment of Kyiv on Tuesday, smashing apartments and a subway station, while thousands of civilians fled the city of Mariupol, which has been similarly bombarded in recent days.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the bombs striking Kyiv hit four multi-story buildings in the city and killed dozens of people. The shelling ignited a huge fire in a 15-story apartment building and spurred a frantic rescue effort, according to the Associated Press.
On the diplomatic front, another round of talks began between Russia and Ukraine via video, and the leaders of three European Union countries — including Poland, a NATO member on Ukraine’s doorstep — planned a visit to the embattled capital in a show of support.
The White House said it will release more details about President Biden’s trip as the day grows closer.
“We’re still finalizing the trip at this time,” Psaki told reporters gathered at the White House. “The real focus right now is to meet with our NATO partners.”
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