NATO has agreed to increase its forces in the eastern part of the security alliance, doubling the number of war groups to eight, and the United States has said it is preparing for a possible biological or nuclear event by Russia.
As NATO calls on China not to provide economic or military support to Moscow, the world’s leading developed nations plan to warn President Vladimir Putin against the deployment of such weapons in the midst of his stagnant occupation of Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: “We have a responsibility to make sure that the conflict does not escalate further.
A senior U.S. official said on Thursday that Washington was working with allies on Russia’s disaster preparedness and preventive measures and possible medical and other countermeasures to help Ukraine. The delegation spoke a day after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan underestimated the risk of a nuclear attack, when US President Joe Biden met with NATO leaders simultaneously in Brussels. Authorities are particularly concerned about a chemical incident.
“Any use of chemical weapons will completely change the nature of the conflict,” Stoltenberg said. “It would be a blatant violation of international law and it would have far-reaching consequences and would certainly be very dangerous.”
Biden noted that President Volodymyr Zhelensky addressed NATO leaders via video conference on Thursday. “We will continue to support you and your government in providing significant and increasing security assistance in the fight against the Russian occupation and in defending your right to self-defense,” he said in a statement after the NATO meeting.
Biden is in Brussels to attend the NATO, G7 and EU summits. World leaders are showing solidarity in the face of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine and seeking action to deal with the economic downturn.
G7 leaders plan to say they will continue to impose “severe consequences” on Russia by fully implementing sanctions already imposed by countries and are prepared to use further measures.
“We trust the relevant ministers in an effort to focus on monitoring the full implementation of sanctions, including on the Central Bank of Russia’s gold transactions, and coordinating responses to evasion activities,” Bloomberg said in a draft statement. Leaders plan to release that on Thursday.
The United States has announced new sanctions targeting Russian elites, lawmakers and security agencies, including Herman Gref, president of Russia’s Sberbank, Putin’s adviser, and 17 members of the Russian financial institution Sovcombank.
Russia suffered heavy losses in the first weeks of the conflict. NATO estimates that at least 7,000 soldiers have been killed and that the actual death toll has risen to 15,000. Britain’s Defense Ministry on Thursday sought to mobilize Russia for its reservists and coercion, as well as the possibility of working with private military companies and foreign mercenaries.
Ukraine, for its part, has shown unexpected solidarity and strength despite heavy attacks on civilians over the past month and millions of people fleeing their homes. Zhelensky said Russian soldiers killed more Ukrainian civilians than military personnel. Images of Moscow besieging cities such as Mariupol have encouraged Ukrainians to organize protests against Russian troops.
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