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Biden to travel to Brussels for NATO summit on Ukraine next week

As the fighting in Ukraine intensifies, the president is set to attend the NATO meeting March 24 and to join a European Council summit.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to travel to Brussels next week for a meeting of NATO leaders to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and reassure America's allies.

The president is set to travel to Brussels for a NATO summit on March 24 "to discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine, as well as to reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Biden also plans to join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support to Ukraine and address other challenges related to the conflict, Psaki said.

“His goal is to meet in person, face-to-face with his European counterparts and talk about where we are at this point in the conflict in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Psaki said. “We’ve been incredibly aligned to date — that doesn’t happen by accident. The president is a big believer in face-to-face diplomacy, so it’s an opportunity to do exactly that.”

Psaki said the White House is still finalizing the details of the trip and declined to say whether Biden could also travel to Poland or meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy while in Europe.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the alliance would convene a meeting of leaders to be held March 24 at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

"We will address #Russia’s invasion of #Ukraine, our strong support for Ukraine, and further strengthening NATO’s deterrence & defence. At this critical time, North America & Europe must continue to stand together," Stoltenberg said in a tweet.

NBC News was the first to report Monday that the White House was considering the possibility of Biden traveling to Europe. Biden's trip, his first to Europe since October, would follow that of Vice President Kamala Harris, who visited Poland and Romania last week.