WARSAW — President Joe Biden is set to meet leaders from NATO’s eastern flank Wednesday in Warsaw, and reassure them that his administration is keenly aware of the looming threats and other impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Wednesday’s meeting comes at the end of Biden’s whirlwind four-day visit to Poland and Ukraine, and brings together the Bucharest Nine, a collection of nations on the most eastern parts of the NATO alliance that formed in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
As the war in Ukraine drags on, the Bucharest Nine countries’ anxieties have remained heightened. Many worry Putin could move to take military action against them next if he’s successful in Ukraine. The alliance includes Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
“When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested. The whole world faced a test for the ages,” Biden said in an address from the foot of Warsaw’s Royal Castle on Tuesday to mark the somber milestone of the year-old Russian invasion.
“Europe was being tested. America was being tested. NATO was being tested. All democracies were being tested.
Biden met Tuesday in Warsaw with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, who last week claimed Moscow was behind a plot to overthrow her country’s government using external saboteurs.
Sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania and one of Europe’s poorest countries, the Eastern European nation has had historic ties to Russia but wants to join the 27-nation European Union. Biden in his remarks endorsed Moldova’s bid to join the EU
“I’m proud to stand with you and the freedom-loving people of Moldova,” Biden said of Sandu and her country in his Tuesday address.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Moldova, a former Soviet republic of about 2.6 million people, has sought to forge closer ties with its Western partners. Last June, it was granted EU candidate status, the same day as Ukraine. — Euronews