BRUSSELS – President Biden has said the United States will respond if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, following a meeting with NATO leaders to discuss new measures. Helping Ukraine in a month-long war.
“We will respond,” Mr. Biden said during a news conference when asked about a possible response if the Russian president “will respond if he uses it.”
Uses chemical weapons in Ukraine. “The nature of the response will depend on the nature of the use,” he said.
NATO emergency summit The first in a series of day-long gatherings, Biden planned with European allies and other world leaders as they chart their next steps to help Ukraine defend against Putin’s offensive last month.
Mr. Biden said he believes Russia should be removed from the group of major economies of the Group of 20, adding that the decision is up to the group. If this is not possible, he said, Ukraine should be allowed to attend the meetings and observe. The G-20 summit is scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in the fall.
against the Russian forces Unexpectedly powerful and deadly opposition Of the Ukrainian forces, Western leaders say they are concerned that Mr. Putin will resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction. NATO officials wrestling with the question What actions Russia is taking can be seen as red lines that could lead to more direct NATO involvement.
“The Allies agreed to provide Ukraine with equipment to help protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the summit. He noted that this includes equipment to detect and protect against such weapons, as well as medical support and decontamination equipment.
He said NATO has also activated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense forces. “We are taking measures to support Ukraine as well as to defend ourselves,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed NATO leaders and asked them for more support, lamenting that answers were not always forthcoming.
“You have at least 20,000 tanks! Ukraine asked to give or sell your tanks to us at 1%! But we don’t have a clear answer yet. The worst thing during the war is the lack of clear answers to requests for help,” he said.
He has not revived his call for NATO membership or a no-fly zone, according to senior officials in the Biden administration. Mr. Zelensky later addressed the leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations.
“We are determined to do everything we can to support Ukraine,” said Mr. Stoltenberg, who has extended his mandate until 2023 amid the crisis. He also emphasized the alliance’s open door policy to receive new members. Moscow has long worried about the possibility of countries close to its borders joining the Western alliance.
NATO was walking a tightrope to supply Ukraine with weapons and other support, without being drawn directly in combat. Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO’s direct participation, such as the establishment of No-fly zone over Ukrainecould involve significant risks of expanding the war.
In his remarks at the NATO meeting, Mr. Biden stressed the need to strengthen the alliance’s eastern flank, and said he would welcome pledges to increase military spending from various nations.
NATO commanders agreed to deploy more battle groups – groups of combat-ready forces – to the eastern flank, doubling their number to eight.
The possibility of Russia’s use of chemical weapons has been raised in discussions among NATO leaders, officials said, adding that there is recognition of the need for the alliance to continue to prepare for and respond to various emergencies.
The accidental release of chemical agents is also of concern to some members. “We are concerned when the Russian forces of aggression bomb chemical plants and similar facilities,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said before the NATO summit. “This could lead to disaster on a large scale.”
Officials said the allies also spoke of the need to call on China not to support Russia in its war against Ukraine.
Mr. Biden, who arrived in Brussels on Wednesday, also met with leaders of the Group of Seven major nations and was due to meet with leaders of the European Union. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to Brussels for the meetings.
Senior Biden administration officials said the G7 leaders will discuss the spillover economic effects of the conflict and announce an agreement to coordinate enforcement of sanctions. The United States also imposed a new round of sanctions on more than 400 political figures, oligarchs and defense companies.
According to US officials, Mr. Biden’s new sanctions will cover more than 300 Members of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, as well as 17 members of the board of directors of the Russian financial institution Sofcombank; Hermann Gref, a longtime Putin adviser who leads Sberbank; and elite Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko. The White House said 48 major Russian state-owned defense entities would be part of the new round of sanctions.
The White House said the Group of Seven and the European Union would also announce a new initiative aimed at preventing Russia from evading sanctions already in place. US officials said one example would be blocking roads for the Russian central bank to prop up the ruble.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nosida said Thursday that sanctions should target Russia’s middle class amid signs that public support for Mr. Putin may grow.
During his meeting with the European Council, which includes the national leaders of the European Union, Mr. Biden planned to pledge more than $1 billion in new funding for the meet human needs It is a result of the conflict in Ukraine, as well as severe effects around the world, including a marked rise in food insecurity, senior administration officials said.
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The United States will do that too open its borders Administration officials said as many as 100,000 Ukrainians and others fled the Russia attack. More than 3.6 million people have fled the fighting in Ukraine since the conflict began, with most heading to Poland.
The United States is expected to make an announcement on Friday about strengthening European energy security and reducing the continent’s dependence on Russian natural gas, said U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, NATO released estimates that Russia may have lost up to a fifth of its combat forces in about a month of fighting in Ukraine. US military analysts estimated the number of casualties was low.
Up to 40,000 Russian soldiers A senior NATO military official said Ukraine had been killed, wounded, captured or missing. Another NATO official said Russia may also have lost 10% of its equipment, impairing Moscow’s ability to maintain the pace of its operations. Moscow has not released updated casualty figures since admitting on March 2 that 498 soldiers were killed in Ukraine.
Catherine Lucy contributed to this article.
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