WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- During his Wednesday address, President Joe Biden emphasized the US’ commitment to the NATO alliance and gave a caution against Russia.
- Biden talked about his intent to solidify ties with European allies and align on various topics.
- The president is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
President Joe Biden starts his first official trip overseas as the nation’s commander-in-chief, reiterating the US’ unwavering commitment to the NATO alliance and giving Russia a warning that it could face “robust and meaningful” actions if it engages in “harmful activities.”
Speaking in front of around 1,000 troops and their families at the Royal Air Force Mildenhall, UK, Biden said that he would send a direct message to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they see each other next week after his meeting with NATO, G7 and European leaders.
“We’re not seeking conflict with Russia… We want a stable and predictable relationship… but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities,” the US president said as he began his eighth-day visit to Europe.
Biden expressed his intention to rebuild relations with European allies and replan ties with Russia following the previous shaky years of the Trump administration.
“This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I’m heading to the G7, then the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” the president said.
“At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future.”
Biden was firm that his objectives for going to Europe were to strengthen “the alliance, making it clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight.”
He also pointed out that the NATO Alliance should update and improve its cyber capabilities.
When asked by the media if Putin and him would talk about cybersecurity, Biden responded: “Who knows? It’s going to be a subject of our discussion.”
Biden’s trip to Geneva to meet Putin would be the highlight of his trip, where he could straightforwardly discuss topics like the recent ransomware attacks against Colonial Pipeline systems, military aggression versus Ukraine among many other concerns.
Biden’s agenda included going to St. Ives in Cornwall to participate in the G7 summit and tackle vaccine diplomacy, trade and initiatives for rebuilding infrastructure in a bid to level the playing field amid China’s increasing power. He will also meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to realign their nations’ “special relationship” following Brexit from the European Union among other issues.
The president, together with the first lady, are also set to visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle after the G7 summit.