Kamala Harris Announces Trip To Eastern Europe To Address Ukraine Invasion

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Romania and Poland next week in an effort to highlight the “strength and unity” of NATO amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House announced Friday.

Harris will be overseas from March 9-11 and will meet with the leaders of both countries as well as other NATO representatives. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its second week Friday, with Ukrainian forces offering a fierce defense of major cities, including the capital of Kyiv. (RELATED: Russia Deploys ‘Data-Wiping Malware’ To Cripple Ukrainian Government Systems)

“The Vice President will advance our close coordination in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the White House said, adding that the leaders will discuss ongoing humanitarian and security assistance for Ukraine.

Harris’ trip comes as the U.S. and NATO allies impose strict economic consequences on Russia for its invasion. The U.S. has sanctioned Russia’s largest state banks and numerous oligarchs, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. Putin retaliated by ordering his country’s nuclear arsenal to “high alert,” a move the U.S. has largely dismissed as rhetoric.

“We have assessed President Putin’s directive and his statements, and at this time we see no reason to change our own alert levels,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters Wednesday.

“Both of our countries have stated that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” he stated. “That was a key reaffirmation coming out of the meeting between President Biden and President Putin.”

President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy late Thursday to discuss a Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Russian shelling set the plant ablaze, raising fears that the attack could result in a nuclear meltdown, though Ukrainian forces were able to put out the fire.