Joe Biden says Russia should be removed from G-20
US President Joe Biden met with EU and NATO leaders in Brussels Thursday, where he conferred with colleagues on a number of issues pertaining to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Biden says at a news conference that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has built greater unity within NATO, the European Union and the Group of Seven (G7) economies.
Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin had gravely miscalculated Western resolve: "He didn't think we could sustain this cohesion," said the US leader, emphasizing that NATO had "never been more united than it is today."
What Biden said about Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after the meeting, Biden said Russia should be removed from the G20, while at the same time calling for observer status for Ukraine.
The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union that works on major global issues. Biden said that he would prefer Russia is removed from the group, but should Indonesia or other nations disagree, he would ask that Ukraine leaders be allowed in for conversations.
Biden also defended his foreign policy response to the Russian invasion, after a reporter said sanctions did not deter Russia's attack.
"Sanctions never deter," Biden said. He said he believes maintaining sanctions over time will ultimately lead to Russia stopping its invasion.
Answering a question on possible Chinese involvement in the conflict, Biden said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Beijing would face consequences if helps Moscow during the ongoing attack.
"I made no threats but I made it clear to him — made sure he understood the consequences of helping Russia," Biden said of his recent conversation with Xi. "China understands that its economic future is much more closely tied to the West than it is to Russia."
US promises Ukraine will have arms and assistance
At the NATO meeting, Biden addressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea for Western arms, saying, "We are committed to identifying additional equipment, including air defense systems, to help Ukraine."
The US and allies have already sent billions of dollars of military hardware to Ukraine, with one anonymous US official saying Western nations were discussing the possibility of providing anti-ship weapons as concerns over Russian amphibious assaults along the Black Sea coast grow.
Kremlin 'chemical weapons' talking points raise Western fears
Fear of Russia using chemical or nuclear weapons has been stoked for weeks by Kremlin talking points accusing the US of maintaining biological weapons labs in Ukraine as well as statements on what Moscow sees as the threat posed by the US nuclear arsenal.
Washington has flatly denied the accusations, calling the approach typical for Russia and pointing especially to its actions in Syria as evidence of an attempt to create a pretext to justify escalation.
Biden has called the prospect of Russian chemical or nuclear attacks a "real threat." Speaking with CNN earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would consider using its nuclear weapons if it felt there was "an existential threat for our country."
On Thursday, Biden vowed the US would respond if Russia were to use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
US introduces new sanctions, welcomes refugees and gives $1 billion in aid
Washington will also expand sanctions targeting Russian parliamentarians and defense contractors. Moreover, the White House announced that the US will work with other Western nations to ensure that Russian gold reserves, held by Moscow's central bank, are subject to existing sanctions.
Earlier on Thursday, the White House announced the US would welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees as well as providing an additional $1 billion (€910 million) in food, medicine, water and other supplies.
js/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)