West unites behind Ukraine at Brussels summit
March 24, 2022
STORY: Western leaders piled on military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine on Thursday with U.S. President Joe Biden calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “brute” and Britain denouncing Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor as “barbarism.”
At an unprecedented triple summit in Brussels, NATO, G7 and European Union leaders addressed the continent’s worst conflict since the 1990s Balkans wars.
Biden stressed the importance of the Western alliances.
Biden: “This single most important thing is for us to stay unified and the world continue to focus on what a brute this guy is and all the innocent people’s lives that are being lost and ruined.”
NATO announced new battle groups for four nations in East Europe, while Washington and London increased aid and expanded sanctions to new targets.
Ahead of the summit Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was grateful for the support Ukraine had received from individual NATO member states, but that NATO had yet to show what the alliance can do to save people.
“And I have been repeating the same thing for a month now. To save people and our cities, Ukraine needs military assistance without any restrictions.”
The European Union was set to unveil steps to wean itself off Russian energy — likely to drive up fuel costs even further around the continent.
But the measures stopped short of Zelenskiy’s calls for a full boycott of Russian energy and a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
The invasion unleashed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin has killed thousands of people, sent more than 3 million people abroad, destroyed cities, and driven more than half of Ukraine’s children from their homes, according to the United Nations. Russia calls the invasion a “special military operation.”
In the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, nearly flattened by the Russian bombardment, hundreds of thousands of people have been hiding in basements without running water, food, medicine or power.
But Moscow has failed to capture any major city. Russian troops have taken heavy casualties and are low on supplies. Ukrainian officials say they are now shifting onto the offensive and have pushed back Russian forces, including north of Kyiv.
Moscow Thursday said the West had itself to blame for the war by arming the “Kyiv regime.”