By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Western leaders are gathering in Brussels for back-to-back emergency meetings of NATO, G7 and the European Union to draw up plans to ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as his country’s invasion of Ukraine enters a second month.
Joe Biden, the president of the United States, is expected to attend all three of Thursday’s meetings.
The US leader arrived in the European diplomatic capital late on Wednesday, and is expected to push allies to enact new sanctions on Russia, which has already seen its economy crippled by a steady stream of bans, boycotts and penalties over the last four weeks.
While the West has been largely unified in confronting Russia after it invaded Ukraine, that unity will likely be tested as the costs of war chip at the global economy.
“What we would like to hear is that the resolve and unity that we’ve seen for the past month will endure for as long as it takes,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters on Air Force One en route to Brussels.
The energy crisis exacerbated by the war will be a particularly hot topic at the European Council summit, where leaders from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece are hoping for an urgent, coordinated bloc-wide response.
‘Intense back and forth’
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed calls to boycott Russian energy supplies, saying it would cause significant damage to his country’s economy, while the head of the European Union’s executive arm has called for the US to increase deliveries of liquefied natural gas so that the 27-nation bloc could reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
Speaking at the European Parliament ahead of Biden’s visit, Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was seeking a a commitment for additional LNG supplies from the US “for the next two winters”.
The EU imports 90 percent of the natural gas used to generate electricity, heat homes and supply industry, with Russia supplying almost 40 percent of EU gas and a quarter of its oil.