‘Credible threat’ of Russian chemical weapons attack, says Biden

President Joe Biden was on his way to Europe on Wednesday, where he will work to strengthen Western unity and increase sanctions against Russia, which is trying to invade Ukraine to upset the balance of power. post-Cold War forces.

• Read also: LIVE | Continued Russian invasion

It is a diplomatic marathon that awaits Joe Biden, anxious to show his firmness against Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also to keep his promise to restore the alliances of the United States to their luster tarnished by four years of Trump presidency.

“In recent months, the West has been united. The president is going to Europe to make sure we stay united” and to “send a strong message that we are prepared and committed for as long as it takes,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said on Tuesday. American.

On Thursday, in a single day, the latter will take part in three international summits in Brussels: NATO, the G7 and the European Union.

Nothing less is needed to symbolically lead beyond Ukraine the great fight of the democratic forces against authoritarianism.

Because “this war is not going to end easily or quickly,” warned Jake Sullivan.

Asked by reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday about the risk of a Russian chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, President Biden called it a “credible threat”.

After almost a month of conflict, Russian forces on Wednesday controlled neither the capital kyiv nor the large strategic port city of Mariupol, in the south, but continued intense bombardments on several cities.

Joe Biden, on the occasion of his trip to Europe, will therefore join “our allies to impose new sanctions on Russia and strengthen the existing sanctions”, in order to prevent Moscow from circumventing them, said Jake Sullivan.

The American president will also “work with the allies on long-term adjustments” concerning the presence of NATO in Eastern Europe, continued the national security adviser.

He will also announce “a joint action to strengthen Europe’s energy security” and unveil “additional American contributions” for humanitarian actions in Ukraine and for the reception of millions of Ukrainians who have fled the war, indicated his to advise.

Friday and Saturday, Joe Biden will travel to Poland, an allied country within NATO, and also the first destination for the majority of the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war.

On his program: a meeting with American soldiers, the details of which are not yet known, a commitment in connection with the reception of refugees and a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

After the shock, almost the amazement, which followed the start of the invasion on February 24, the White House knows that the hardest part is undoubtedly to come.

First for Ukraine: Joe Biden said again on Monday that it was “clear” to him that Russian President Vladimir Putin was considering using chemical and biological weapons.

The US president has previously described a Russian leader with his “back against the wall”, a “war criminal” adopting ever more “brutal” and deadly tactics for civilians.

But a lasting war will also be a challenge for the beautiful unity so far displayed by Westerners.

After the first bursts of very harsh economic and financial sanctions, the options for coordinated reprisals are reduced, coming up against the strong disparities between countries, for example in terms of dependence on Russian gas.

The difficulty is the same on the military level. After major strategic reversals by certain countries and announcements of massive arms deliveries by the Americans, how can we support the Ukrainian army even more?

Especially when Joe Biden has said and repeated that a direct military confrontation with Russia, for example through a no-fly zone, was excluded.

Another objective of the American president is to ensure, as Jake Sullivan promised on Tuesday, that Westerners speak “with one voice” in the face of China.

Washington has already warned that Beijing would expose itself to reprisals in the event of deliveries of military equipment to Russia. So far, however, the United States has not seen anything like this, the national security adviser said on Tuesday.


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