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Biden will travel to NATO summit in Spain after final G7 meetings in Germany | CNN Politics


President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Spain on Tuesday for the start of a NATO summit that is expected to focus heavily on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine after wrapping up final meetings with G7 leaders in Germany.

Biden will meet Tuesday morning with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom on the margins of the G7, which is taking place in Germany’s Bavaria region. The President will then attend the final session of the summit – which is focused on “Multilateral and Digital Order,” according to the White House – and deliver remarks.

The President will travel to Madrid in the afternoon. Leaders attending the NATO summit are expected to endorse a new “Strategic Concept” that outlines the defense alliance’s goals for the next decade. These priorities include “building resilience against transnational threats including cyber and climate” and “deepening partnerships with democratic partners in Europe and Asia in order to strengthen the rules-based international order,” the White House says.

Biden will meet on Tuesday with President Pedro Sánchez of Spain and His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, according to a schedule provided by the White House. Biden and Sánchez are expected to hold a bilateral meeting to discuss coordination on support for Ukraine as well as combating the global climate crisis, improving global health security and promoting economic prosperity in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

The President and first lady Jill Biden will then attend a dinner Tuesday evening for leaders attending the NATO summit, which will be hosted by King Felipe VI and Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain.

The summit comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretches into its fifth month and as the US looks to keep allies united in its support for Ukraine and sustain the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But it also comes as leaders face the threat of a global recession and the Biden administration grapples with soaring inflation and high prices and interest rates at home. The mounting economic concerns have raised questions about whether the united Western response to the conflict in Ukraine can be sustained in the long term as the war grinds on.

The US assessment of the war increasingly envisions a long and punishing battle in eastern Ukraine that will result in high personnel losses on both sides. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told G7 leaders during a virtual meeting on Monday that he wants the war in Ukraine to end by the end of 2022, according to a source familiar with his remarks.

US and European officials are also eying the summit for potential progress in moving Finland and Sweden’s applications forward to join NATO. The two nations formally applied to be part of the security alliance in May, propelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said it won’t support the bids and has accused the two countries of harboring members of the separatist militant Kurdistan’s Workers Party, also known as PKK, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the G7 summit that the goal ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid was to “create as much positive momentum as we can behind the candidacies of Finland and Sweden,” though he cautioned, “I am not sitting here today suggesting that all issues will be resolved by Madrid.”

The US is also preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced medium-to-long range surface-to-air missile defense system that Ukraine’s president requested. The announcement could come as soon as this week, and comes in addition to the several packages of military assistance the US has provided since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

The US will also be unveiling other new sanctions, including on Russian defense companies and individuals. The leaders have agreed to ban imports of new Russian gold, which is the country’s second largest export after energy.  

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