- President Joe Biden will travel to Belgium to meet with NATO leaders next week.
- Earlier on Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he convened the extraordinary summit with alliance leaders.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will travel to Belgium to meet with NATO leaders next week, the White House confirmed Tuesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will discuss the alliance's ongoing defense efforts in response to Russia's war in Ukraine. He will also reaffirm U.S. commitment to NATO allies during the March 24 meeting.
"He will also join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including transatlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and provide humanitarian support to those affected by the violence and address other challenges related to the conflict," Psaki said.
Psaki declined to say if Biden will travel to Poland, a NATO ally assisting with the budding humanitarian crisis spilling over Ukraine's borders. She also declined to confirm reports that Biden may meet in person with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Earlier on Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he convened the extraordinary summit with alliance leaders to discuss how to bolster Ukraine as the country spends its third week fighting off Russia's attack.
The White House announced Biden's trip as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with NATO defense ministers for a two-day gathering at the alliance headquarters in Brussels.
Following the meeting, Austin will travel to NATO member states Slovakia and Bulgaria.
"We'll cover the situation in Ukraine but we'll also be talking about some longer-term questions about how NATO should be positioning itself in the future," U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said on a call with reporters Tuesday.
Biden has previously said that while he will not commit to sending U.S. troops to Ukraine, he would approve troop deployments to NATO member countries.
The president has also conveyed that the U.S. will defend NATO allies if the attack on Ukraine spills over into a broader conflict.
"The United States and our allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power — every single inch," Biden said during his March 1 State of the Union address.
A cornerstone of the 30-member alliance is the principle of collective defense, known as Article 5, which states that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all allies.