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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Biden to ask allies to apply more aggressive sanctions on Russia

By Michael D. Shear

President Joe Biden will press allies for even more aggressive economic sanctions against Russia during a series of global summits in Europe this week, White House officials said Tuesday, seeking to maintain unity of purpose as Russian forces continue to rain destruction on cities in Ukraine.

In Brussels on Thursday, Biden and other leaders are expected to announce a “next phase” of military assistance to Ukraine, new plans to expand and enforce economic sanctions, and an effort to further bolster NATO defenses along the border with Russia, said Jake Sullivan, tWhite House national security adviser.

“The president is traveling to Europe to ensure we stay united, to cement our collective resolve, to send a powerful message that we are prepared and committed to this for as long as it takes,” Sullivan told reporters.

Biden faces a steep challenge as he works to confront the aggression of President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The alliance has already pushed the limits of economic sanctions imposed by European countries, which are dependent on Russian energy. And the NATO alliance has largely exhausted its military options — short of a direct confrontation with Russia that Biden has said could result in World War III.

That leaves the president and his counterparts with a relatively short list of announcements to deliver Thursday following three back-to-back meetings. Sullivan said there will be “new designations, new targets” for sanctions inside Russia. And he said the United States will make new announcements about efforts to help European nations wean themselves of their dependence on Russian energy.

But the chief goal of the summits — which have been hastily developed in just a week’s time by diplomats in dozens of countries — may be as a further demonstration that Putin’s invasion will not lead the allies to devolve into sniping and disagreement.

Sullivan said that despite Russia’s intention to “divide and weaken the West,” the allies have remained “more united, more determined, and more purposeful than at any point in recent memory.”

The president is scheduled to depart Washington early Wednesday before summits Thursday with NATO, the Group of 7 major industrialized nations and the European Council. On Friday, Biden will head to Poland to discuss the flood of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived since the start of the war. He will also visit with U.S. troops stationed in Poland as part of NATO forces.

Biden is expected to meet with President Andrzej Duda of Poland on Saturday before returning to the White House later that day.

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