The White House announced on Wednesday that US Vice President Kamala Harris will speak at the Munich Security Conference next week to rally European allies against a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Harris will deliver a major speech laying out US policy toward Ukraine and reaffirming America’s commitment to its NATO members. She’ll also meet with EU and NATO leaders one-on-one to establish a united front against Russia’s military buildup in Ukraine.
Approximately 350 top figures from dozens of countries attend the yearly conference, which was organized by Western nations during the Cold War to debate military conflicts. It is held in a typical setting in Germany.
“Munich will demonstrate our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies, reaffirm our shared interest in upholding the principles that have underpinned European peace, and security since World War II and underscore our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Sabrina Singh, the vice president’s deputy press secretary.
As Russia continues to deploy 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border and asserts its naval might, Harris’ tour deepens US involvement with allies and partners in Europe. Although Moscow has denied any plans for an invasion, US officials have stated that an attack might happen within days or weeks.
Six Russian warships sailed from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea on Tuesday, and Russian forces in Belarus were preparing to conduct a 10-day military rehearsal as a show of force.
President Joe Biden has threatened Russia with the toughest penalties in history if it sends soldiers across the border, but he also believes negotiation is the best approach to handle Moscow’s security concerns.
In a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday, Biden stated that if Russia invades Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that transports Russian natural gas to Germany would be shut down.
Meanwhile, the president has given his approval to a Pentagon proposal to use US troops in Poland to assist in the evacuation of American citizens who would be forced out of Ukraine if Russia invaded. There are an estimated 30,000 Americans working and residing in Ukraine.
In phone calls with foreign leaders and travel to Central America, Asia, and Europe, the vice president has sought to establish foreign policy credentials in order to advance administration priorities such as reducing migration from Central America into the United States and bolstering international support to counter China’s growing global influence.