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Ukraine: Western Allies’ll Respond If Russia Uses Chemical Weapons — Biden

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President Joe Biden promised allies would respond if Russia uses chemical weapons against Ukraine.

“It would trigger a response in-kind,” Biden told reporters.

“Whether or not you’re asking whether NATO would cross, we’d make that decision at the time.”

Biden was in Brussels meeting with NATO allies for emergency talks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its fourth week.

At a press conference at NATO headquarters yesterday, Biden said that more weapons were flowing into help Ukraine as western leaders met to discuss contingency plans in case Russian aggression intensifies.

Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin had misjudged the unity of the west.

“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today,” Biden said.

Biden added that he thinks Russia should be ejected from the G-20, but noted that decision will be up to the group. If members object, he thinks Ukraine should be able to attend the next meeting.

Russia had been part of the G-8 group of major economies until it was kicked out for annexing Crimea in 2014. “Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, Biden said Russia should be kicked out of the Group of 20 nations in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, a major step that would further isolate the Kremlin and restrict Russia’s say in the global economy. Russia’s membership in the group, which represents the world’s major economies, was discussed during an emergency meeting with key U.S. allies, Biden told reporters yesterday during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

He noted that the decision on whether to boot Russia from the group is up to other G-20 members. If the other members decline to revoke Russia’s membership, Ukraine should be permitted to attend G-20 meetings, Biden said.

The G-20 includes not only Western democracies but also tyrannical and authoritarian countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. The group works to address major issues impacting the global economy.

The U.S. and other allies expelled Russia in 2014 from a smaller group that represents industrialized nations after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. That alliance, known at the time as the Group of Eight, is now called the Group of Seven, or G-7.

The president’s remarks came as the U.S. reinforced NATO’s support of Ukraine one month into Russia’s invasion and as the Kremlin was strapped with more sanctions – even as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economy has shrunk to half the size it was before the invasion, according to the White House.

A senior administration official told reporters that independent assessments indicate Russia’s last 15 years of economic gains will evaporate this year and inflation will spike to 15%.

Russia, which had the world’s 11th largest economy before the invasion, will fall out of the top 20, according to the official. At the same time, the official said, sanctions are cutting off all sources of potential growth, including blocking Russia from purchasing cutting-edge technology.

Biden also announced Thursday he hopes to meet with Ukrainian refugees while in Europe, giving away a part of his schedule that the White House had not announced.

Biden said getting a first-hand look at the effects of the war on Ukrainians will reinforce his commitment to the U.S. playing a major role in helping both those inside and outside Ukraine.

“I plan on attempting to see those folks as well as, I hope, I’m going to be able to see — guess I’m not supposed to say where I’m going, am I?” Biden said. “But anyway, I hope I get to see a lot of people.”

“Sanctions never deter,” he said, adding that keeping sanctions in place for the months ahead is “what will stop him.”

Biden’s mission ahead of Thursday’s meeting was “to ensure we stay united, to cement our collective resolve, to send a powerful message that we are prepared and committed to this for as long as it takes,” said his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Earlier in the day, administration officials told reporters the U.S. plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other displaced people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, and will provide $1 billion in new funding for humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and refugees in neighboring countries.

The Biden administration is also planning new sanctions on Russia, including on members of the Duma and defense companies, is partnering with the G-7 and EU on a new initiative to prevent China or other countries from helping Russian banks do business abroad and will crack down on sales of Russian gold.

From Brussels, Biden heads to Warsaw on Friday to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and visit with U.S. troops.

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