Biden and European allies begin emergency summits in Brussels

World leaders are meeting to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Image
Joe Biden, Washington, D.C., Feb. 15, 2022
Joe Biden, Washington, D.C., Feb. 15, 2022
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden and other world leaders began the first of several emergency summits on Thursday to address the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The summit, taking place in Brussels, began with a warning from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that the alliance must double down on its support for Ukraine and "respond to a new security reality in Europe."

"We gather at a critical time for our security. We are united in condemning the Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression and in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said, adding that the "alliance is “determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to bring about the end of this brutal war."

On Thursday, Brussels is hosting the emergency NATO gathering, a G7 meeting, as well as a summit of the European Union, all three of which the U.S. president will attend. He will brief the press after all three conclude.

Though Western nations have remained unified in their confrontation of Russia following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, there is an understanding that that unity may be strained as the costs of war begin to tangibly impact the global economy in a greater capacity.

Before beginning the summit, Stoltenberg said he expects that leaders to commit greater sums to defense investments. "We need to do more, and therefore we need to invest more. There is a new sense of urgency and I expect that the leaders will agree to accelerate the investments in defense," he said. 

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration is looking to hear that the "resolve and unity that we’ve seen for the past month will endure for as long as it takes."

Leaders from the European Union, especially those from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece, are hoping for a bloc-wide response as it pertains to the energy crises that the war has underscored. EU officials say their plan is to request U.S. input and assistance on a strategy for natural gas storage facilities in preparation for next winter. Leaders are also seeking to jointly purchase gas as a bloc.

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz is opposed to boycotting Russian energy supplies, saying that it would send his country as well as all of Europe into a recession. 

Poland and other countries in close proximity to Ukraine will be looking for clarity on how the U.S. and other European allies will be assisting with growing concerns about Russian aggression and the refugee crisis. Poland has accepted more than 2 million refugees from Ukraine, and that figure is only growing.

On Friday, President Biden will visit Poland, where he will discuss both issues with President Andrzej Duda.