The president is scheduled to go to Brussels on March 24 for a NATO summit in which leaders will “discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. Psaki said Biden will also “reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies.”
While there, the president is expected to join a European Council summit, where Psaki said he will “discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine,” including efforts to impose economic sanctions on Russia, provide humanitarian aid to civilians impacted by the violence, and address other challenges related to the invasion.
The White House said it is still finalizing details of the trip and could not confirm whether Biden would also travel to Poland or meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has been pleading for Western leaders to do more to aid the country under attack. Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday.
“His goal is to meet in person, face-to-face with his European counterparts and talk about and assess where we are at this point in the conflict in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Psaki said. “We’ve been incredibly aligned to date ― that doesn’t happen by accident. The president is a big believer in face-to-face diplomacy, so it’s an opportunity to do exactly that.”
The trip to Europe would be Biden’s first since October, and follows Vice President Kamala Harris’ visits to Poland and Romania last week.
The announcement came on the same day Russia announced sanctions on Biden and other top U.S. officials, in a move aimed at restricting travel to Russia. The move is in response to sanctions that prevent Russian officials from entering the U.S.
“It won’t surprise any of you that none of us are planning tourist trips to Russia,” Psaki told reporters. “None of us have bank accounts that we won’t be able to access, so we will forge ahead.”