President Biden’s European Trip: Strengthening NATO and Addressing Russian Aggression

2023-07-02 22:14:08

President Joe Biden will head to Europe later in the week for a three-country trip aimed at bolstering the international coalition against Russian aggression as the war in Ukraine continues.

The main focus of Biden’s five-day visit will be the annual summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which this year is being held in Vilnius, Lithuania. It also plans stops in Helsinki, Finland, to mark the Nordic country’s entry into the 31-nation military alliance in April, and Great Britain, the White House announced Sunday.

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Biden will start his trip next Sunday in London, and the next day he will meet King Charles III at Windsor Castle, according to Buckingham Palace. The president did not attend the monarch’s coronation in May, sending first lady Jill Biden to represent the United States. In June, Biden received British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the White House, and both leaders pledged to continue cooperating in the defense of Ukraine.

Sunak’s office stated that he was looking forward to hosting Biden and that their meeting would build on previous visits.

The NATO meeting comes at the last critical point of the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claims counter-offensive and defensive actions are underway against Russian forces, as Ukrainian troops begin to retake territory in the southeast of the country, according to their military commanders.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, visited the White House on June 13, where he and Biden made it clear that the Western alliance was united in defending Ukraine. Biden said during that meeting that he and other NATO leaders will work to ensure that each member country spends the required 2% of its gross domestic product on defense.

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“NATO allies have never been more united. We both worked like crazy to make sure that was the case. And so far, everything is going well,” Biden said sitting next to Stoltenberg, who is expected to extend his term for another year. “We see our joint strength in modernizing relations within NATO, as well as helping Ukraine’s defense capabilities.”

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