‘Russia will pay’: West to warn Putin at trio of summits
Western nations will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that his country will pay a ‘ruinous’ fee to invade Ukraine in an unprecedented one-day trio of NATO, G7 and EU summits to which US President Joe Biden will participate.
The eventful day of the summit to maintain Western unity will begin at the headquarters of the transatlantic defense alliance in Brussels, where leaders will agree to strengthen military forces on Europe’s eastern flank. Alarmed by the prospect that Russia could escalate war with its neighbor after a bitter month-long conflict, the 30 NATO countries will also agree to send equipment to kyiv to defend against biological, chemical and nuclear attacks .
The resolve to punish Moscow with massive sanctions will be underscored by an emergency meeting of the G7 advanced economies, including Japan. Then, with a 27-nation European Union summit, countries representing more than half of the world’s gross domestic product will come together in one day. “We must ensure that the decision to invade an independent sovereign country is understood as a strategic failure with ruinous costs for Putin and Russia,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the European Parliament on Wednesday.
Russia’s assault on Ukraine has killed thousands and driven nearly a quarter of the country’s 44 million Ukrainians from their homes, according to United Nations data, of whom more than 3.5 million have fled the country. country. Putin says his forces are engaged in a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the West say Putin has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address NATO and EU summits via video conference. He pleaded, unsuccessfully, for NATO to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but Western allies imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia and provided arms and aid worth billions of dollars. dollars for the defense of Ukraine.
EASTERN FLANK NATO has greatly increased its presence on the alliance’s eastern borders, with some 40,000 troops spread out from the Baltic to the Black Sea. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said leaders would discuss the deployment of four new combat units to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
“I expect leaders to agree to strengthen NATO’s posture in all areas, with significant increases in the eastern part of the alliance. On land, in the air and at sea,” he said. he said at a press conference on Wednesday before the summit. Washington said Biden and his European counterparts would announce new sanctions against Russia and steps to strengthen existing sanctions. However, EU diplomats played down expectations of further major sanctions.
EU measures so far include freezing Russian central bank assets, but some member states are resisting calls to target Russian energy exports because they are heavily dependent on them. “I don’t expect any big announcements or decisions,” said a European diplomat. “It’s more about taking stock and looking ahead to see where other lines of action would lie.”
European leaders are expected to agree at their two-day summit to jointly buy gas, as they seek to reduce their dependence on Russian fuels and provide a buffer against supply shocks. Brussels is also aiming to strike a deal with Biden to secure additional supplies of US liquefied natural gas for the next two winters.
“The consequences of this war on Europe’s security architecture will be considerable,” EU President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. “And I’m not just talking about security in military terms. But also energy security, and even food security are at stake.” (Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Kate Abnett, Sabine Siebold and Jan Strupczewski Editing by Gareth Jones)
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