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Russia may increase nuke blackmail to disrupt Biden’s Poland visit: Ukrainian intel

According to the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry (GUR), Russia may attempt to disrupt the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Poland, which will take place between February 21 and 22 by launching large-scale maneuvers of its strategic nuclear forces.

As of now, GUR claims to have confirmed information about the preparations of components of the Russian nuclear forces for the launch of sea-based and land-based ballistic missiles, as well as air-based cruise missiles. To that purpose, Russians have deployed an auxiliary post of the long-range aviation command at Tambov air base, located in the central part of European Russia.

Ukrainian intelligence officials told Ukrinform that they believe such actions by the Russian military and political leadership are an attempt to disrupt the visit of the U.S. president to Europe through means of direct nuclear blackmail, as well as to weaken international support for Ukraine.

President Biden in Poland

President Biden is scheduled to leave Washington on Monday and arrive in Warsaw on Tuesday. Biden will be in the same place he was last year when he told the world from Warsaw that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot “remain in power” after visiting refugees near the front lines.

The U.S. President is expected to reaffirm the commitment of the United States and other countries to support Ukraine. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden intends to send “a strong message of solidarity”.

He will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda before delivering remarks on Tuesday evening, where he will make clear the U.S. will stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

The president is also expected to thank the Polish government and people for their financial and military commitments over the past year, as well as their welcoming of some 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine.

“Last time he was in Warsaw, he was out there meeting Ukrainian refugees and shaking hands. He’s a kind of self-starred man of the people. I think he’s much more comfortable on the front lines in Warsaw than he is in the back rooms sipping Cava with the elites at the Munich Security Conference,” he said.

The following day, Biden will meet with the Bucharest Nine, which consists of members of NATO’s eastern flank: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

Last month, the White House committed to sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, marking a significant turn for the Biden administration that had previously argued they would be of little benefit to Ukraine. Since the start of the war, the U.S. has sent over USD 24 billion in security assistance to help Kyiv.

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