Vice President Joe Biden set off for Europe late Monday, beginning a three-day trip to showcase U.S. support for Eastern European allies following Russia's incursion into Ukraine.
Biden is headed to Warsaw to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski on Tuesday, according to the White House. He will also meet with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
The vice president then heads to Lithuania, where he will meet with President Dalia Grybauskaite and Latvia's President Andris Berzins.
Biden plans to deliver "the message of strong reassurance and support for the security of our NATO allies," a senior administration official told reporters Monday.
The trip is also meant to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose interference in Ukraine has been decried by the international community.
Putin signed a decree Monday recognizing Ukraine's Crimea region as sovereign state. Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama announced a series of sanctions against Russia that an administration official called "the most comprehensive sanctions applied against Russia since the end of the Cold War."
The president also announced he will travel to Europe next week for meetings with allies.
First published March 17 2014, 6:28 PM