U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Poland on Friday to speak with President Andrzej Duda, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, as Warsaw and Washington have differed on military assistance to Ukraine to counter Russia’s invasion.
The trip to Warsaw will follow Biden’s planned trip to Brussels to participate in a NATO summit scheduled for Thursday where leaders will discuss the war in Ukraine and strengthening the alliance’s defenses.
In the Sunday statement, Psaki said Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Duda to discuss how the Untied States, alongside allies and partners, is responding to the “humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created.”
Since the Kremlin launched its attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, more than 10 million people in the Eastern European country have been displaced, including more than 3.3 million who have fled to neighboring countries.
According to United Nations data, at more than 2 million refugees, Poland has received more Ukrainians fleeing war than any other nation.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Poland less than two weeks ago during a three-day trip of Eastern Europe to show support for Ukraine, NATO and other countries under threat of Russia.
During a news conference with Duda, she pledged $53 million in humanitarian assistance to aid displaced Ukrainians.
On Friday amid speculation that Biden may also visit the country, Psaki told reporters that they were still working on the details on the president’s Europe trip.
“We pulled this trip together pretty quickly, so we’re working as quickly as we can to get any other details finalized,” she said.
Biden’s meeting in Warsaw will follow those in Brussels with NATO allies, Group of Seven leaders and the European Union during which they will discuss “the international efforts to support Ukraine and impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russian for its invasion.”
Psaki told reporters early last week when the trip was first announced that its goal is to discuss face-to-face with his European counterparts about where they stand concerning Russia’s invasion.
“We’ve been incredibly aligned to date; that doesn’t happen by accident,” she said.
Biden’s trip to Poland comes as Washington and Warsaw have not necessarily seen eye-to-eye on their concerted response to Russia’s aggression.
Earlier this month, Poland wanted to transfer warplanes to Ukraine, which the United States rejected, with the Pentagon saying in a statement that NATO jets departing from German bases to fly into Russian-contested airspace over Ukraine “raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance.”
“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rational for it,” Pentagon press Secretary John Kirby said.
Poland has also said it’s going to formally submit a proposal to NATO for a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, which the United States has been cold to.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. representative to the United States, told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that U.S. troops will not be sent if that mission is given the green light.
“The president has been clear on that, and other NATO countries may decide that they want to put troops inside of Ukraine. That will be a decision that they have to make,” she said.
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