U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to fly to Europe next week to take part in NATO and European Council summits. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
March 15 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden plans to travel to Brussels next week to meet with world leaders to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
Her announcement confirmed speculation earlier in the week that Biden was in the early stages of planning a trip to Europe.
Psaki said he'll take part in a NATO summit scheduled for March 24, during which NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said leaders will discuss the war in Ukraine and strengthening the allies' defenses.
"He will also join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including trans-Atlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support to those affected by the violence and address other challenges related to the conflict," Psaki said during a White House press briefing.
She added that Biden prefers "face-to-face diplomacy" with the United States' European allies.
"We've been incredibly aligned to date -- that doesn't happen by accident," she said.
Psaki declined to comment on whether Biden plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his trip to Europe.
During Tuesday's briefing, Psaki also told reporters that 13 U.S. leaders targeted by Russian sanctions wouldn't likely be majorly affected.
It "won't surprise any of you that none of us are planning tourists trips to Russia, none of have bank accounts that we won't be able to access, so we will forge ahead," she said.
Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo