President Joe Biden joined world leaders in Brussels on Thursday for an emergency session to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the conflict enters its second month.
“We gather at a critical time for our security,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the leaders. “We are united in condemning the Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression and in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He added that the alliance is “determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to bring about the end of this brutal war.”
Biden’s day will include attending the emergency NATO summit, a smaller meeting of the Group of Seven (G7), and a European Union summit, followed by a press conference.
The president is likely to announce additional sanctions against Russian leaders and oligarchs. On Wednesday, the White House also announced Russia’s military had committed war crimes.
“We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities,” the State Department said in a press release.
“Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded. Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians. This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report. It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the word ‘дети’ — Russian for ‘children’ — in huge letters visible from the sky.”
The meeting comes as the United Nations reports half of Ukraine’s children have now been displaced, either internally or as refugees beyond the nation’s borders.
“The war has caused one of the fastest largescale displacements of children since World War II,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said. “This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for generations to come. Children’s safety, wellbeing and access to essential services are all under threat from non-stop horrific violence.”
The report added that 78 children have been killed, and 105 have been injured in Ukraine since February 24. The numbers only include confirmed deaths and injuries, with the real totals likely much higher.
The battle continues to rage at locations surrounding Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, with reports that Russian forces have turned to defense in some parts of the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also shared a public video overnight urging a global protest on Thursday to denounce Russia’s invasion.
Video of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calling for global protests
English language, English subtitles: https://t.co/x7McTzdSeX
— John Wick’s Pound Puppy (@NerdyInNOLA) March 24, 2022
“Make yourself visible and heard,” he said in English during the video. “Say that people matter, freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.”