Nato leaders including US President Joe Biden assembled in Brussels on Thursday for the first of three back-to-back summits aimed at strengthening the West’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Motorcades drew up at Nato headquarters as a day of diplomatic drama dawned on which the leaders of the G7 and the European Union will also discuss the multi-tiered military, humanitarian and economic crisis that the war has produced.
Arriving as the war entered its second month, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said leaders would agree to a more muscular posture on the alliance’s eastern flank to confront the “most serious security crisis in a generation”.
They were challenged to “keep the flame of freedom alive” by Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he announced that the UK would send 6,000 defensive missiles and £25 million ($33m) in funding for the Ukrainian military.
Mr Johnson also suggested going after Mr Putin’s gold reserves as leaders discuss the possibility of further sanctions, including a potential boycott of Russian energy. Other leaders talked about what was at stake in the progress of the war.
“We must ensure that the decision to invade a sovereign independent country is understood to be a strategic failure that carries with it ruinous costs for Putin and Russia,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Mr Biden landed in Belgium on Air Force One late on Wednesday, with a police cordon and barbed-wire fortifications providing the backdrop to his first visit to Europe since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on Ukraine.
Nato’s 30 heads of government will hear an address from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as he pleads for more weapons to drive out the Russian invaders.