Western Leaders Gather For 3 Emergency Summits On War In Ukraine

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Western leaders are gathering in Brussels on Thursday for three summits to discuss their future actions in response to the month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden will join 29 fellow leaders of NATO, and later the G7 and the European Union for a day of hectic consultations.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said leaders will address the most serious security crisis in a generation as they meet at the NATO Headquarters.

The meeting will focus on continued NATO support to Ukraine and approve plans to strengthen the alliance's posture in all domains of warfare.

"The NATO leaders will today address the need for a reset of our deterrence and defence in the longer term," he told reporters.

"The first step is the establishment of four new battle groups in the eastern part of the Alliance in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia," he added.

Talking to the media en route Brussels, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that even though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, providing military equipment and weapons to Ukraine and coordinating the supplies of Allies as well to facilitate their delivery will be a subject of discussion at the summit.

Sullivan said the United States will announce a package of sanctions designations Thursday that target Russian political figures, oligarchs as well as entities.

The G7 leaders will agree on an initiative to coordinate on sanctions enforcement so that Russian efforts to evade the sanctions can be dealt with effectively. They will also cover the global energy picture, the global food security picture, and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine on the global economy.

The European Council meeting will discuss the refugee and humanitarian situation that has been fast evolving over the course of the past month since Russian attack started.

At the EU summit, Biden will discuss with the European Union leaders about next steps on sanctions.

As EU has a summit with China coming up on April 1, Biden will discuss China's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

"Throughout the day, the President will obviously consult on potential contingencies: the possibility of cyberattacks by Russia against the United States or other Allied and partner countries, the possibility of the use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, the possibility of escalation in the conflict in other ways, and how to deal with the rhetoric and the commentary coming out of Russia on this whole question of the potential use of nuclear weapons," Sullivan told reporters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address all three summits by video link.

Meanwhile, after keeping its markets closed for nearly a month, Russia's stock market opened for the first time in a month on Thursday.

Russia announced that it will only allow 15 percent of listed shares to trade. Foreigners are prohibited from selling their shares, and short selling in general has been banned.

Responding to it, the United States said this is not a real market and not a sustainable model, which only underscores Russia's isolation from the global financial system. "The United States and our allies and partners will continue taking action to further isolate Russia from the international economic order as long it continues its brutal war against Ukraine," Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh said in a statement.

The Pentagon says Russia's forces are being pushed back around Kyiv and are taking defensive positions northwest of the capital.

A Russian ship has been destroyed in the occupied port of Berdyansk on the Azov Sea, according to the Ukrainian Navy.

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