The Western allies are preparing to tighten the financial vice around Moscow a little more. While Joe Biden is expected in Brussels on Wednesday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned on Tuesday that a new set of sanctions was going to be at the heart of the discussions.
The American president will take part in meetings of NATO, the G7 and the European Union on Thursday. On this occasion, he “will join our allies to impose new sanctions on Russia and strengthen the existing sanctions”, in order to prevent Moscow from circumventing them, announced Jake Sullivan.
Joe Biden will also “work with the allies on long-term adjustments” regarding NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also invited to speak directly Thursday by videoconference to the leaders of NATO countries.
“Strengthening Europe’s energy security”
Another objective of the American president will be to ensure that Westerners speak “with one voice” in the face of China. Washington has already warned that Beijing would be exposed to reprisals in the event of deliveries of military equipment to Russia. So far, however, the United States has not seen anything like this, the national security adviser said on Tuesday.
“This war is not going to end easily or quickly. In recent months, the West has been united. The president is going to Europe to make sure we stay united” and to “send a strong message that we are prepared and committed for as long as it takes,” said Jake Sullivan.
The US president will also “announce joint action to strengthen Europe’s energy security”, as EU foreign ministers discussed on Monday a possible embargo on Russian oil, a measure already taken by Washington. European nations, much more dependent than the United States on Russian hydrocarbons, have so far ruled out sanctioning this sector.
Getting bogged down in the field
This prospect has already driven oil prices higher. Monday evening, the barrel of Brent from the North Sea had reached its highest level for ten days, at 115.62 dollars, while the American WTI also exceeded 110 dollars. The market stabilized on Tuesday, pending announcements following Joe Biden’s visit to Europe. The American president will then go, Friday and Saturday, to Poland, an allied country within NATO, and the first destination for Ukrainian refugees.
On the ground, the Russian forces controlled this Tuesday neither the capital kyiv, nor the large strategic port city of Mariupol, in the south, but continued intense bombardments on several cities.
French President Emmanuel Macron again spoke for an hour with Vladimir Putin, the Elysée also announced on Tuesday. For his eighth telephone conversation with the Russian leader since the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, “there is currently no agreement but the president (Macron) remains convinced of the need to continue its efforts, explained the French presidency. There is no other way out than a ceasefire and Russia’s good faith negotiations with Ukraine. The President of the Republic stands alongside Ukraine.