Joe Biden wraps up six-day European trip overshadowed by events back home

MADRID – President Joe Biden wraps up a six-day trip to Europe that has been largely overshadowed by domestic issues and will meet the press before heading home on Thursday.

Biden has scheduled an 8 a.m. EDT news conference where he’s expected to field questions on international topics such as the war in Ukraine and relations between Russia and the West. He’ll likely also be asked about domestic issues such as the economy, abortion rights and the latest Jan. 6 committee testimony.

Biden’s Q&A with the media will come at the close of three-day summit in which the U.S. and its NATO allies sought to show resolve against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine.

That’s a wrap. Here’s what you missed

  • NATO leaders declared Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to their members’ peace and security and vowed to strengthen their support for Ukraine.

  • Biden pledged to boost U.S. military strength in eastern Europe, including establishing a permanent presence in Poland and enhancing rotational deployments in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

  • The U.S. said it also is sending two additional F-35 squadrons to the U.K., stationing two more destroyers in Spain and will improve defense capabilities in Germany and Italy.

  • Before his arrival in Spain on Tuesday, Biden huddled with leaders of the world’s economic powerhouses at the Group of Seven summit in Germany.

  • Over the course of 2 1/2 days, G7 leaders discussed ways to help Ukraine beat back a Russian offensive and moved closer to capping the price that countries can pay for Russian oil as a way to restrict Putin’s cash flow and bring down prices at the pump.

‘A KICK IN THE GUT’: Finland’s, Sweden’s drive to join NATO a defeat for Putin, a win for the West

President Joe Biden takes a selfie with Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela, right, during a visit to the Prado museum with heads of state and dignitaries in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.

MAKING PUTIN PAY: G-7 nations move closer to price cap for Russian oil; US official says group eyes Putin’s cash flow

President Joe Biden ( chats with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) looks on during a family photo at the NATO Summit on June 29, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

President Joe Biden ( chats with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) looks on during a family photo at the NATO Summit on June 29, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

The latest

  • Biden speaks: Before his news conference, Biden will deliver remarks during a session of NATO’s decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council.

  • NATO expansion: NATO leaders have formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. The invitation comes after Turkey dropped its objections to the Nordic nations’ membership. Final approval could still be months away because the legislative bodies of all 30 NATO countries must vote to accept their membership.

  • Food security: Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met on the sidelines of the NATO summit Wednesday. Biden praised the Turkish leader for dropping his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the NATO alliance and lauded Erdoğan’s work to address food insecurity stemming from the war in Ukraine.

US considering sale of fighter jets to Turkey

The U.S. signaled its support on Wednesday for the sale of new F-16 fighter jets to Turkey ahead of a meeting in Madrid between Biden and the Turkish president.

Turkey had been blocking Sweden and Finland’s application to join NATO but removed its opposition on the first day of the summit – hours after Biden spoke to Erdoğan by phone.

An official told reporters traveling with Biden in Madrid that the U.S. did not offer Turkey anything to drop its objections. The president did not respond to a question later in the day about the possible sale of F-16 jets.

What they’re saying

  • “The United States supports Turkey’s modernization of its fighter fleet because that is a contribution to NATO security and therefore American security,” said Celeste Wallander, an assistant secretary at the Department of Defense.

  • “It took the other members like the United States to be at the table to talk about other issues on Turkey’s mind to finally close the deal,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in an interview at the NATO summit.

  • Durbin added that if a deal was struck because the U.S. agreed to sell Turkey fighter jets he would support the sale. “I think that the accession of Finland and Sweden changes the calculus of the NATO protection, and Putin could not have imagined that NATO would be even stronger after his invasion,” he said.

CAN HE SUCCEED? Facing upheaval at home, Biden seeks to keep NATO military alliance behind Ukraine

Francesca Chambers and Michael Collins cover the White House. Follow Chambers on Twitter @fran_chambers and Collins @mcollinsNEWS.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NATO: Biden wraps up six-day trip to Europe

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