Biden says Ukraine should attend G20 meetings if efforts to expel Russia unsuccessful
President Joe Biden wants Russia removed from the G20, but stressed that it is the organisation’s decision adding that an alternative would be for Ukraine to attend as an observer.
Mr Biden was speaking at a press conference at Nato Headquarters following meetings with leaders of both the alliance and the G7 in an extraordinary day of summits in Brussels over the invasion of Ukraine.
The president also said that he warned China not to help Russia or risk its economy; there would be an appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons; and that he will likely be visiting refugees at the Polish border tomorrow.
Mr Biden is now meeting with the European Council in a day focussed on allied unity.
Thursday’s meetings are to coordinate with Nato allies on military assistance for Ukraine, new sanctions on Russia, and the boosting of defences in Eastern Europe. The US has also now officially accused Russian forces of war crimes in Ukraine.
The US also announced it will welcome 100,000 refugees displaced by the Russian invasion — one of the country’s biggest refugee intakes in years.
At home, the latest polling shows the majority of Americans want the president to take a tougher stance on Russia, while his approval rating remains unchanged since the beginning of the conflict in Europe.
White House forms team to plan for possible use of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons by Russia
A senior administration official has confirmed reporting by The New York Times that the White House has set up a team of national security officials to plan for what happens if Russia uses chemical, biological, or tactical nuclear weapons in its war on Ukraine.
The US and allies are concerned the Kremlin might resort to such a move as its invasion struggles against Ukrainian resistance and Moscow’s own issues. The Biden administration has been warning of such a possibility since the early days of the war — perhaps as a false flag operation.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan sent a memo on 28 February detailing how the “Tiger Team” would examine what might happen over the next three months of conflict, NBC News reports a senior administration official as saying.
The team is looking at scenarios including: Russia using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons; Russia targeting allied convoys carrying weapons to Ukraine; the implications of a disruption to the global food supply; and the growing refugee crisis as millions of Ukrainians flee the country, the official said.
Mr Sullivan’s memo also established a second “strategy group” responsible for looking at the longer-term major geo-political shifts that have been triggered by the invasion.
The use of such lethal weapons of mass destruction would dramatically escalate the conflict. Russia has already increasingly attacked civilians.
Given the possibility that the impact of these types of weapons might spill into Nato countries, the alliance would have to consider whether it would respond.
Oliver O’Connell25 March 2022 01:00
Biden calls for Russia to be removed from G20
Oliver O’Connell25 March 2022 00:15
GOP official refuses to say Biden was ‘duly elected’
A Democrat on the committee pressed the attorney general of Alabama, a vocal supporter of the former president’s falsehoods about the 2020 election, on Thursday whether Mr Biden was the “duly elected” president; the Republican official, Steve Marshall, repeatedly dodged his questions until the senator moved on.
John Bowden reports from Washington, DC.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 23:45
Joint Readout by US and European Council
Today, the European Council was joined by President Joseph R Biden, Jr of the United States. The leaders discussed the coordinated and united response of the European Union and the United States to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression in Ukraine. They reviewed their ongoing efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and Belarus, as well as their readiness to adopt additional measures and to stop any attempts to circumvent sanctions.
Leaders discussed the urgent needs caused by Russia’s aggression, committed to continuing providing humanitarian assistance, including to neighboring countries hosting refugees, and underscored the need for Russia to guarantee humanitarian access to those affected by or fleeing the violence.
Leaders welcomed the opening of international investigations, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and ongoing efforts to gather evidence of atrocities.
In addition, leaders discussed EU-US cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as the need to respond to evolving food security needs worldwide.
The leaders also concurred on the importance of strengthening democratic resilience in Ukraine, Moldova, and the wider Eastern partnership region.
Finally, leaders underscored the importance of enhancing transatlantic security and defense, including through robust Nato-EU cooperation as described in the EU’s Strategic Compass.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 23:20
Possibility of return of Trump ‘concerns our allies’ says ambassador
Marie Yovanovitch, a key witness during Mr Trump’s first impeachment trial, was speaking to former Obama adviser David Axelrod on the Axe Files podcast.
Mr Axelrod said Mr Trump was “emboldened by his acquittal” after Democrats launched the impeachment process following revelations that Mr Trump had tried to withhold military aid to Ukraine to get them to investigate President Joe Biden and his family. Mr Biden was a potential presidential candidate at the time.
Gustaf Kilander has the story.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 23:00
Biden: Ukraine should be able to attend G20 meetings if US efforts to expel Russia are unsuccessful
President Joe Biden has called for Ukraine to be welcomed at future G20 summits should US attempts to expel Russia be unsuccessful.
After meeting with European allies on Thursday in Brussels, Mr Biden told a press conference it was time to step up efforts to isolate Russia from the international community.
He said if G20 member countries blocked his request to remove Russia, then Ukraine should be invited to attend the meetings.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 22:35
Biden snaps at reporter over Russia sanctions question
Joe Biden snapped at a CBS News reporter who questioned why new sanctions would have an impact on Russia changing course in Ukraine when previous sanctions failed to deter an invasion.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 22:20
Biden evokes rise of Nazis as he’s asked whether Nato should fear Trump’s possible re-election
Addressing reporters at a Nato conference in Brussels on Thursday, Joe Biden said he had no concerns about a potential face-off against his 2020 Republican opponent, Donald Trump.
A reporter for the German magazine Der Spiegel pointed out that there was a presidential election – to which Mr Biden quipped “you’re kidding?”
After a small shuffle of laughter, the reporter continued and posed, without stating the former president’s actual name, what the Biden administration is doing now to prevent all the work he’s doing here with Nato, at the alliance’s headquarters, from “coming undone two years from now”.
Johanna Chisholm reports.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 22:00
Full remarks by President Joe Biden at Nato Headquarter press conference
Today marks one month since Russia began its carnage in Ukraine, the brutal invasion of Ukraine. And we held a Nato summit the very next day. At that time, my overwhelming objective, wanting that summit, was to have absolute unity on three key important issues among our Nato and European allies.
First was to support Ukraine with military and humanitarian assistance.
Second was to impose the most significant — the most significant sanctions — economic sanction regime ever, in order to cripple Putin’s economy and punish him for his actions.
Third was to fortify the eastern flank of our Nato Allies, who were obviously very, very concerned and somewhat at — worried what would happen.
We accomplished all three of these. And today, we’re determined to sustain those efforts and to build on them.
The United States has committed to provide over $2bn in military equipment to Ukraine since I became President — anti-air systems, anti-armor systems, ammunition. And our weapons are flowing into Ukraine as I speak.
And today, I’m announcing the United States have prepared to commit more than $1bn in humanitarian assistance to help get relief to millions of Ukrainians affected by the war in Ukraine.
Many Ukrainian refugees will wish to stay in Europe, closer to their homes. But we’ve also — will welcome 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States with a focus on reuniting families.
And we will invest $320m to bolster democratic resilience and defend human rights in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
We’re also coordinating with the G7 and the European Union on food security, as well as energy security, and I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.
We’re also announcing new sanctions of more than 400 individuals and entities aligned with — in alignment with the European Union: more than 300 members of the Duma, oligarchs, and Russian defense companies that fuel the Russian war machine.
In addition to the 100,000 US forces now stationed in Europe to defend Nato territory, Nato established, as you already know, four new battle groups in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia to reinforce the eastern front.
Putin was banking on Nato being split. In my early conversation with him in December and early January, it was clear to me he didn’t think we could sustain this cohesion.
Nato has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.
We built that same unity with our European — the European Union and with the leading democracies … in the G7.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 21:44
Congressional candidate quits campaign to join fight in Ukraine
A candidate for US Congress quit his campaign to join foreign mercenaries fighting in Ukraine.
Mark Lindquist, the only Democrat running in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, defied White House advice and is joining Ukraine’s “International Legion of Defence”.
Oliver O’Connell24 March 2022 21:32