Watch Live: Biden holds press conference in Brussels after NATO summit

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President Biden is holding a press conference in Brussels Thursday after spending the day huddling with NATO and European Council allies in emergency meetings to address ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The gathering of NATO allies was taking place soon after the State Department formally assessed that Russia has committed war crimes against Ukraine, and as Russian forces struggle to make military progress, defying initial expectations of a swift conquest of the country. Russia has been hammering southern Ukraine with air and artillery strikes, trying to seize a swath of ground to create a land corridor between the occupied Crimean Peninsula and Russian territory.

Four new NATO battlegroups are deploying to Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria — Mr. Biden said in a statement that their deployment “is a strong signal that we will collectively defend and protect every inch of NATO territory.” He added that by the time NATO leaders meet for their next summit in June, “we will develop plans for additional forces and capabilities to strengthen NATO’s defenses,” in order to ensure NATO is prepared for “any challenge” in what is a “new and more dangerous security environment.”

Mr. Biden’s news conference comes ahead of a Friday meeting with Poland President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. The White House has not yet released a more comprehensive schedule for Mr. Biden beyond Thursday, citing security reasons.

Earlier Thursday, the Biden administration announced the U.S. will accept up to 100,000 displaced Ukrainians, additional sanctions on Russian oligarchs and entities, and the U.S. and allies are planning to redirect supplies of liquefied natural gas to Europe, in order to reduce its dependence on Russia. Currently, three countries provide 70% of Europe’s natural gas: the U.S., Qatar and Russia. In 2021, Russia provided 20% of Europe’s supply, but the U.S. has been increasing its exports, supplying Europe with over half its natural gas imports in January.

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy prevailed on U.S. and European allies to send fighter jets, tanks and more powerful weapons to deter the Russian air threat to Ukraine, a senior administration official said the U.S. is consulting with allies to provide anti-ship missiles.

NATO allies have agreed to provide cybersecurity assistance and equipment to help protect Ukraine against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday. But he reiterated that NATO will not put boots on the ground in Ukraine.

“We have a responsibility to prevent this conflict from becoming a full-fledged war in Europe involving not only Ukraine and Russia but NATO allies and Russia,” Stoltenberg said. “That would be more dangerous and more devastating.”

Reporters are likely to press Mr. Biden on private conversations about China’s relationship to Russia and what additional defense systems the U.S. and NATO allies will provide Ukraine.


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