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Biden lays out 3 main goals after meeting with leaders about Ukraine

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Four weeks into the Russian war in Ukraine, President Biden is in Brussels meeting with NATO allies. He spoke with reporters at the emergency summit, and Biden said the U.S. and European allies have had three goals - to help Ukraine, to punish Russia economically and to fortify NATO's eastern flank.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We accomplished all three of these, and today we're determined to sustain those efforts and to build on them.

SHAPIRO: Biden has announced another round of sanctions. Beyond that, there are a lot of questions about how NATO would respond to Russian escalation. NPR White House correspondent Scott Detrow is here to talk through this. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good afternoon.

SHAPIRO: We heard Biden talk about what the U.S. and its allies have done. What are they going to do next?

DETROW: Biden did announce some new economic sanctions today, targeting hundreds of members of the Russian Duma, 40 Russian defense companies, more oligarchs, among others. He said the U.S., the EU and G-7 countries will also work to block China or other countries from working with Russian banks to get around these sanctions. But Ukraine wants much more help. And Biden got defensive during the press conference when a reporter pointed out the threat of all of these tough sanctions did not stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching this war.

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BIDEN: The maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration - why I asked for this NATO meeting today - is to be sure that, after a month, we will sustain what we're doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That's what will stop him.

DETROW: Biden also said that he wants to see Russia kicked out of the G-20 but conceded that might not actually happen. Remember; Russia was booted from another influential group of world economic leaders, the G-7, after its initial 2014 invasion of Crimea.

SHAPIRO: What about on the humanitarian front? Biden is heading to Poland tomorrow, where more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees have fled over the last month.

DETROW: Yeah. There were a couple major announcements today on that front. Biden announced $11 billion for global food supply efforts. You know, given how Russian and Ukrainian wheat harvests that so many countries rely on are going to be interrupted this year, that is an important issue. He also announced an additional billion dollars in aid for refugee resettlement efforts in Europe, and Biden also said the U.S. is preparing to take in up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees with an emphasis on the vulnerable, like people with medical needs. Here's the president again.

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BIDEN: Well, this is not something that Poland or Romania or Germany should carry on their own. This is an international responsibility. The United States, as the leader - one of the leaders in the international community, has an obligation to be engaged and do all we can to ease the suffering and pain.

DETROW: The White House is staying mum on a lot of the details of the next part of this trip, but Biden did indicate that he's going to meet with and see some of these Ukrainian refugees when he's in Poland for two days.

SHAPIRO: There's also this big question about how NATO would respond if Russia escalates, for example, by using chemical weapons. Did Biden give any indication of what the reaction would be?

DETROW: Not really, or not really anything more than he's been saying for a while now. Biden did say, as he said before, the U.S. and NATO would respond to the use of chemical weapons by Russia, but he did not provide specifics. He also, again, did not provide any details on whether U.S. intelligence is seeing any clear signs right now that Russia is preparing to use chemical weapons. The president also echoed earlier administration messages about China and what would happen if China stepped up its support for Russia at this point in time, staying vague but indicating there would be economic consequences for China.

SHAPIRO: That is NPR's Scott Detrow. Thanks a lot.

DETROW: Thank you, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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