Harris to attend Munich Security Conference, discuss US-NATO posture
Kamala will not be taking any deliverables, but will be discussing aid and alignment.
US Vice President Kamala Harris will be visiting Munich, Germany, to attend the Munich Security Conference this week. The visit aims to ensure that Washington is aligned with European partners regarding the Ukraine crisis, according to a US administration official to reporters.
The VP will be in Munich Friday and Saturday, and will be accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith.
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"The key objective for her [Harris'] trip now is to focus on this fast-changing, evolving situation, this tremendous challenge we are facing now, to make sure that we are fully aligned with our allies and partners, and to make sure that we have sent a very clear message to Russia... which is that there are two paths: our preference is diplomacy and deterrence but if Russia chooses aggression, we are ready, the US is ready, our allies are ready," the official said on Wednesday.
Harris will be discussing the economic measures that will, supposedly, be imposed on Russia if Moscow were to invade Ukraine. The US-NATO alignment will also be discussed, their support for Ukraine, as well as diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions.
On Friday, Harris will also be holding bilateral meetings with the European leadership, including with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, along with Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian officials to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
The VP will also be meeting with Democrat and Republican lawmakers, who will be attending the conference with her.
On Saturday, Harris will be holding bilateral meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz. Harris' meeting with Zelenskyy will be to discuss US provision of "economic and security assistance" to Kiev.
Read more: Putin, Scholz hold talks on energy, Ukraine crisis
However, Harris does not have any deliverables to offer.
On Tuesday, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said that Moscow was withdrawing some of its forces from the Ukrainian border. Sergei Shoigu, Russian Minister of Defense, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that some drills with Belarus have ended while others were ongoing. The drills are expected to finish on Saturday.
Biden: US ready for diplomacy with Russia
US President Joe Biden revealed on Tuesday that Washington is ready to engage in diplomacy with Russia, while also set to respond ‘decisively’ if Russia were to invade Ukraine (which Russia keeps refuting), believing that it is still a possibility.
"The United States is prepared no matter what happens, to engage in diplomacy with Russia and our allies and partners to improve security and stability in Europe ... and we are ready to respond decisively to a Russian attack on Ukraine. It is still very much a possibility," Biden said.
He added, "This weekend, I spoke again with President Putin to make clear that we are ready to keep pursuing high-level diplomacy,” revealing that he and Putin agreed “to engage toward this end along with our allies and partners."
"To be clear, if Russia decides to invade, that would also have consequences here at home, but the American people understand that defending democracy and liberty is never without costs," the US president said.
Biden further claimed that his administration is proposing new measures on the military and strategic levels that would apply to Russia and NATO alike, measures that would advance common security. Nevertheless, he stressed that he will not "sacrifice basic principles."