Biden Plans Gas Shipments To Europe To Cut Russian Leverage

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BRUSSELS (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday is expected to announce increased shipments of liquefied natural gas to Europe, part of a long-term initiative to wean the continent off Russian energy after the invasion of Ukraine.

He plans to discuss the issue with Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Union’s executive arm, shortly before leaving for Poland, the final leg of his four-day trip.

Earlier this week, Von der Leyen said “we are aiming at having a commitment for additional supplies for the next two winters.” And Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, recently told reporters that the administration wants to quickly “surge” gas to Europe.

Russian energy is a key source of income and political leverage for Moscow. Almost 40% of the European Union’s natural gas comes from Russia to heat homes, generate electricity and power industry.

After leaving Brussels, Biden travels to Rzeszów in Poland, where U.S. troops are based roughly an hour’s drive from the Ukrainian border. He’ll get a briefing on the humanitarian response to the refugees streaming out of Ukraine and those still suffering inside the country. And Biden will meet with U.S. service members from the 82nd Airborne Division, who serve alongside Polish troops.

Biden is then expected to continue on to Warsaw, where he will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Saturday.

Before returning to Washington, the White House said, Biden will give an address “on the united efforts of the free world to support the people of Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its brutal war, and defend a future that is rooted in democratic principles.”

While in Brussels, Biden participated in a trio of summits hosted by NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union, all on Thursday. The extraordinary series of meetings reflects heightened concerns about the war in Ukraine, which has entered its second month.

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