President Joe Biden will mark the one-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a trio of global summits in Europe on Thursday.
His first event, a usually pro-forma “family photo” of leaders, will take on new weight as a visual demonstration of the allies’ coordinated response. Keeping everyone united as the war grinds on is a key goal of the trip — Biden’s third overseas.
“What we would like to hear is that the resolve in unity that we’ve seen for the past month will endure for as long as it takes,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One. “That’s at a top line.”
Biden will address an emergency NATO summit — at which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also speak — before meeting with the leaders of the other G-7 countries and speaking to all 27 leaders of European Union countries.
Biden is scheduled to cap the day with a news conference.
The U.S. and its allies are expected to announce new sanctions on Russia, additional humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians, and to call on China to condemn the invasion.
They’ll discuss how to respond to a cyber, nuclear or chemical attack by Russia and what level of force presence is needed in Eastern Europe in the near and longer term.
“The decisions we take tomorrow will have far-reaching implications,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. “Major reinforcements to our security will require major investments in defense.”
►As many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, according to NATO’s first estimate.
►The Russian stock market resumed limited trading Thursday under heavy restrictions almost one month after prices plunged and the market was shut down following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
Russia to expel more American diplomats, State Department says
Russia has begun the process to expel several American diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the State Department said Wednesday.
The department said it received a list of diplomats on who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours.
The State Department called Wednesday’s move “Russia’s latest unhelpful and unproductive step” in relations between the countries. It urged Russia “to end its unjustified expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff.”
— Charles Ventura, USA TODAY; Associated Press
US has determined Russia committed war crimes, Blinken says
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the United States has determined Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement.
He said the assessment is based on “a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources.”
Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has unleashed “unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine.” He cited reports of indiscriminate attacks, including those deliberately targeting civilians, among other atrocities.
— Deirdre Shesgreen
Contributing: The Associated Press