Exactly one month since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the leaders of NATO, the G7 and the European Union have convened a trio of summits in Brussels to coordinate the next phase of the Western response.
The latest: All 30 NATO leaders issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s invasion and committing to providing Ukraine with “assistance in such areas as cybersecurity and protection against threats of a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear nature.” G7 leaders are now meeting behind closed doors.
What they’re saying: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the NATO summit via video link, telling the alliance: “Never, please, never tell us again that our army does not meet NATO standards. We have shown what our standards are capable of. And how much we can give. to the common security in Europe and the world. “
- Zelensky criticized NATO for declining to establish a no-fly zone or provide Ukraine with fighter jets or tanks, saying the lack of a “clear answer” is leading to mass death and the destruction of Ukrainian cities.
- He demanded specific weapons – tanks, fighter jets, multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), anti-ship weapons and air defense systems – and warned that Russia “does not intend and will not” stop at Ukraine.
Driving the news: President Biden announced that the US would sanction over 600 Russian elites, lawmakers and defense companies in coordination with the EU and G7.
- The G7 and the EU also announced a sanctions evasion initiative to enforce current penalties, including by “making clear that any transaction involving gold related to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is covered by existing sanctions.”
- The NATO allies said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will stay on for a year past his term, which was set to expire in September, to maintain stability during the crisis in Ukraine.
- The UK announced just as the summit kicked off that it would impose 65 new Russia-related sanctions, including on the London-based stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the pro-Russian mayor installed in occupied Melitopol.
NATO summit: Stoltenberg announced Wednesday that NATO would double its military presence on the eastern flank, deploying four new multinational “battlegroups” in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
- The move is part of a broader “reset” in NATO’s long-term defense and deterrence strategy, which could include a permanent US troop presence in the Baltic states.
- The leaders’ joint statement pledged to “accelerate NATO’s transformation for a more dangerous strategic reality” and take further steps at the next NATO summit in Madrid in July.
G7 summit: In addition to the new sanctions initiatives, the G7 leaders are expected to warn Vladimir Putin against using chemical or nuclear weapons, a scenario Western officials fear is becoming increasingly likely as the war in Ukraine becomes a grinding stalemate.
European Council: The US and EU are close to a deal on supplying American liquefied natural gas to help European countries like Germany wean themselves off Russian energy.
- The EU is not expected to agree on any major new sanctions package, as appetite has faltered for imposing additional costs on Russia that could contribute to a recession in Europe.
- Zelensky is scheduled to address the EU summit later on Thursday, and President Biden will host a press conference at 3pm ET.
Between the lines: While Russia dominated the discussions in Brussels, NATO leaders also called on China to “cease amplifying the Kremlin’s false narratives, in particular on the war and on NATO, and to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.