Biden In Poland After Controversial Summits


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

WARSAW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – U.S. President arrived in Poland on Friday after attending summits where he and other Western leaders declined to offer the more robust military assistance demanded by war-torn Ukraine.

Following unprecedented trio-summits in Brussels of the military alliance, the Group of Seven industrialized countries, and the 27-nation European Council, Biden pledged mainly new sanctions and humanitarian aid.

Biden also announced the U.S. would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees — though he said many probably prefer to stay closer to home — and provide an additional $1 billion in food, medicine, water, and other supplies.

He also reiterated $1 billion in new assistance to Ukraine — anti-aircraft systems, anti-armor weapons, , and millions of rounds of ammunition. “I welcome the steps by many other allies to provide defensive support to Ukraine. Together, we are committed to identifying additional equipment, including air defense systems, to help Ukraine,” he added.

However, pressured by NATO member states such as Hungary, Biden, and other leaders continued to deny Ukraine’s requests to send it Soviet-era jet fighters, impose a no-fly zone against Russian aircraft over Ukraine, and speed the flow of more heavy weaponry.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, seen as the ’s closest ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said, “Hungary managed to enforce its position and national interests.”

NO TROOPS

He added that “Hungary will not send troops to Ukraine; it has been accepted that we will also not send weapons, nor permit weapons deliveries to pass through Hungarian territory to Ukraine.”

And Orbán stressed that “any [enforced] no-fly zone over Ukraine would be the equivalent of an air war, but that will not happen.”

The nationalist prime minister, who faces elections on April 3, also prevented energy sanctions against , saying Hungary is heavily dependent on Russian supplies.

However, he said NATO would send battle groups in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and who “will only be stationed in these countries for defense purposes.”

The forces include Americans as well as Turks, Italians, and Croats, he added in a statement monitored by Worthy News.

Hosting international forces remains controversial in Hungary, a nation with a turbulent history of occupation by foreign troops.

UKRAINE DISAPPOINTED

Yet across the border in Ukraine, the government expressed its disappointment. “We expected more bravery. We expected some bold decisions,” said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking in Poland, some 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Ukraine, Biden expressed regret that he couldn’t cross the border to see the crisis for himself.

Biden shared a meal with soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division stationed in the area of Rzeszow airport and spoke about the high stakes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

His schedule in Poland was briefly delayed after the plane carrying President Andrzej Duda was turned back en route to Rzeszow and made an emergency landing in Warsaw. Duda later boarded a different aircraft and headed back.

His office said Duda had not been in any danger in the incident, which for many Poles brought back memories of the 2010 Smolensk air crash in Russia that killed top military officers and politicians, including President Lech Kaczynski.

“We all know the history we have when it comes to flights,” Duda told reporters. “I did not argue; that was the decision of the plane’s captain,” he said, adding that the passengers could feel that the plane had become unstable.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Biden received a briefing on the humanitarian response to help civilians sheltering from Russian attacks inside Ukraine and to respond to the growing flow of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

“I’m here in Poland to see first hand the humanitarian crisis,” he said at the start of a meeting with Duda, non-governmental organizations, and other U.S. and Polish officials. “Quite frankly, part of my disappointment is I can’t see it first hand like I have in other places. They won’t let me, understandably, I guess, cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine.”

Poland has taken in more than 2.23 million people fleeing violence in Ukraine, out of some 3.7 million altogether who have poured over borders across central during the last four weeks.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are being cut off from help by Russian forces and are besieged in places like Mariupol,” Biden said about the port city in eastern Ukraine, which has been under siege since the war’s early days.

“It’s like something out of a science fiction movie.”

Biden told reporters in Brussels on Thursday that his visit will “reinforce my commitment to have the make sure we are a major piece of dealing with the relocation of all those folks, as well as humanitarian assistance needed both inside Ukraine and outside Ukraine.”

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