NATO leaders discuss plans to meet in Brussels next week, officials say

View of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (CAN) at the level of foreign ministers gathered at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 4, 2022.

Olivier Douliery | Reuters

Heads of state representing NATO’s 30 member countries plan to meet in person in Brussels next week as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaches the alliance’s gates with missiles fired just miles away. the Polish border, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

The meeting, which the alliance would describe as “extraordinary” because it falls outside of scheduled regular engagements, would fit in with the White House’s tentative plans for President Joe Biden to visit Europe.

President Biden’s trip and NATO meeting have yet to be finalized, the officials said, asking not to be named because plans are not yet set.

The meeting would serve as a high-level show of force for NATO nations, which have forged a stronger bond in response to Russia’s unprovoked attack on neighboring Ukraine. The United States is committed to defending the entire alliance, even in the event of accidental fire.

“The United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory, and that means every inch,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “And if there is a military attack on NATO territory, that would trigger the invocation of Article Five, and we would call upon the full force of the NATO alliance to respond to it.”

Over the past few weeks, Sullivan and Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense. General Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley traveled to Europe for bilateral meetings to strengthen relations as the Russian offensive intensifies.

NATO defense ministers are due to meet on Wednesday

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