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Biden calls for unity at Brussels meetings

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U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at the European Council with President Charles Michel (Schmitt/EU Reporter).

U.S. President Joe Biden had a hat trick of summits to attend in Brussels today. In the morning a summit with the NATO Heads of State, then a G7 summit and finally a meeting with the European Council during their formal summit. The overall message of Biden’s Brussels visit? Unity - writes Taylor Schmitt.

“Putin was banking on NATO being split,” Biden said. “In my early conversations with him in December and early January it was clear to me that he didn’t think we could sustain this cohesion. NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.” 

In a press conference at NATO headquarters today President Biden highlighted key issues that he feels NATO should prioritize. These issues include the military and humanitarian support of Ukraine, harsher sanctions against Russia and fortifying the eastern border of the NATO area. He also talked about the possibility of removing Russia from G20 or allowing Ukraine to sit in as a guest at any upcoming summits. 

As a part of NATO, Biden announced that the U.S. is prepared to commit more than $320 million to aid Ukrainians’ defense of their territory. The U.S. will also host 100,000 refugees who are fleeing Putin’s ‘barbaric’ war. 

“This is not something that Poland or Romania or Germany should carry on their own,” Biden said. “This is an international responsibility. The United States as a leader in the international community has an obligation to be engaged and do all we can to ease the suffering and the pain of the innocent women and children and men.” 

Biden also confirmed new sanctions in conjunction with NATO and the EU, which adds a further 400 entities to the growing list of Russian oligarchs and military companies who have supported the Russian invasion. 

“One of the things that [Putin]’s tried to do, his overwhelming objective… is to demonstrate that democracies cannot function in the 21st century…,” Biden said. “From the very beginning, my objective, and I’ve had a great partner in this, was to see to it that we built total, complete unity among the major democracies of the world.” 

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Biden also reaffirmed that the U.S. is committed to helping Europe solve any current or future food or energy problems. Currently around 40% of the EU’s energy comes from Russian gas, which makes it difficult for EU leaders to impose sanctions. During his visit to the European Council, Biden is expected to discuss how the U.S. can help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. 

In terms of food security, both the U.S. and Canada, another G7 country, may be able to help, Biden said. Both countries have large agricultural sectors and other allies who can help alleviate the pressure of sanctions. 

Biden will hold a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen tomorrow morning, where he will likely discuss any commitments the United States made during his conversation with the European Heads of State.

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