Biden to visit near Ukraine border, as solidarity tested

25 Mar 2022 : 17:20 Comments:  Views: 
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Air Force One will jet into the eastern Polish town of Rzeszow -- bringing the US president less than 80 kilometres (50 miles) from a war-torn nation still struggling to repel a brutal Russian attack.Air Force One will jet into the eastern Polish town of Rzeszow -- bringing the US president less than 80 kilometres (50 miles) from a war-torn nation still struggling to repel a brutal Russian attack.

The trip is designed to underscore Washington's willingness to defend Nato allies, as fears rise that the month-old war in Ukraine could yet spark what Biden has called "World War III".

Fearing further escalation, cautious European Union, Nato and G7 leaders in Brussels shied away from Ukraine's request for more advanced weapons systems and a blanket embargo on Russian oil and gas at a trio of Brussels summits Thursday.

That prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to pointedly question whether some allies -- particularly those in Europe -- were doing enough, quickly enough.

That prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to pointedly question whether some allies -- particularly those in Europe -- were doing enough, quickly enough.

"You have applied sanctions. We are grateful. These are powerful steps. But it was a little late," he told EU leaders via video link, suggesting the invasion and untold bloodshed could have been prevented.

With his calls for fighter jets, missile defence systems, tanks, armoured vehicles and anti-ship missiles seemingly stalled, he warned Europeans about the cost of further delay.

Naming each EU member state in turn, he thanked countries including Poland and Estonia for their support, noted German backing came "a little later" and singled Hungary out for censure.

"You have to decide for yourself who you are with," Zelenskyy told Hungary's rightwing populist leader Viktor Orban, who has close ties to Moscow.

Zelenskyy said more weapons and more pressure on Moscow were urgently needed to help besieged Ukrainian cities.

"Listen, Viktor, do you know what's going on in Mariupol?" he said. "There is no time to hesitate. It's time to decide already."

Some in the West fear transferring ever-more lethal weapons to Ukraine could spark further escalation from Moscow that might prove cataclysmic.

Russia is already accused of using phosphorus bombs and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas -- something the United States has branded a war crime.

There was no agreement to halt oil and gas imports from Russia, which fill Moscow's war chest to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per day.

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