Ukraine: US President at emergency NATO Summit
By Stefan J. Bos
NATO leaders made clear in a statement that they are taking measures to ensure their nations’ security and defense on land, in the air, and at sea amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The NATO member states warned Moscow that they were increasing the resilience of their societies and infrastructure to counter Russian cyber-attacks and other threats.
Earlier, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said four new battlegroups would be sent to Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania.
They are among tens of thousands of U.S. forces and other NATO troops protecting the alliance's eastern flank.
A senior U.S. security official said some 10,000 American military personnel are also in Ukraine, though the White House insists no U.S. combat troops are on Ukrainian territory.
Diplomats fear Russia might use possible chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons to fight for control over Ukraine.
NATO leaders praised the people of Ukraine, who, in their words, “inspired the world with heroic resistance to Russia’s brutal war."
Their statement urged Russia's President Vladimir Putin to "immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine."
It also called on nearby Belarus to "end its complicity" in Russia's invasion.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed NATO should go beyond the rhetoric and called for “military assistance without limitations.” He also accused Russia of using phosphorus bombs in Ukraine.
“It’s not your missiles; it’s not your bombs that are destroying our cities. This morning, by the way, there were phosphorus bombs dropped on Ukraine. Russian phosphorus bombs. Adults were killed again, and children were killed again,” President Zelensky said. “I just want you to know: the NATO alliance can still prevent the deaths of Ukrainians from Russian strikes, from Russian occupation, by giving us all the weapons we need,” he added.
Zelensky pleaded at the NATO summit for anti-air and anti-ship weapons, asking, “is it possible to survive in such a war without this?”
However, NATO has so far declined to enforce a no-fly zone above Ukraine, saying such action could lead to a confrontation with Russia and possibly World War Three.
Yet, the United States said it would expand its sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The punitive measures target members of the country’s parliament and the central bank’s gold reserves.
The White House also pledged that the U.S. would increase its humanitarian assistance by welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide an additional $1 billion in food, medicine, water, and other supplies.