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Leaders of Bucharest Nine countries meet in Warsaw

Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Joe Biden, in Warsaw, 21 February 2023
Photo: BGNES

The leaders of the countries of the group of former Eastern Bloc countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) will talk today in Warsaw with the President of the United States Joe Biden. 

Established in 2015, the Bucharest Nine (B9) organization covers all countries from the eastern flank of NATO that have joined the western alliance. Most of them are among the countries that most strongly support the provision of military aid to Ukraine, with some of them also calling for the deployment of air defense systems. 

At the meeting, Biden is expected to confirm to the leaders of the nine countries that the United States remains committed to supporting their security and to discuss with them the next joint actions regarding Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, it emerged that Russia was suspending agreements under the New START Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty with the United States, causing concern among Alliance allies. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia's decision was making the world a more dangerous place and urged Moscow to reconsider. The new treaty limited the number of strategic nuclear warheads the United States and Russia were allowed to deploy, as well as the deployment of surface- and submarine-launched missiles and bombers to deliver them. In ending it, the Kremlin warned it could resume nuclear tests if the US did so first. 

As an argument for Russia's decision, President Vladimir Putin pointed out that NATO has more than one nuclear force and they are also directed against the Russian side. "We cannot ignore this, Putin pointed out, and that is why a new START must also include nuclear powers such as Great Britain and France, which are also developing their nuclear capabilities, and they are also aimed at Russia." Putin also emphasized that the West has spent $150 billion in military aid to Ukraine and that this flow of funds is not decreasing, with the goal of eliminating Russia forever.

A few hours later, in an address to a crowd in downtown Warsaw, Biden said society must stand up to despots like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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