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Updated March 24th, 2022 at 23:41 IST

Biden: NATO more united than ever over Ukraine

Biden: NATO more united than ever over Ukraine

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Brussels, Mar 24 (AP) US President Joe Biden says that Russian President Vladimir Putin was wrong to assume NATO would be divided over Ukraine.

Biden says at a news conference that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has built greater unity within NATO, the European Union and the Group of Seven economies.

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Biden says of Putin, “He didn't think we could sustain this cohesion,” adding that NATO has “never been more united than it is today.” NATO countries and other allies have imposed harsh sanctions against Russia, crippling that country's economy. Still, the EU has refrained from taking the same steps as the US by banning oil and natural gas from Russia.

___ Paris: French President Emmanuel warned about “reputation risks” for French companies which are operating in Russia but said they are free to make their own choices.

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“My position is to let the companies free to decide for themselves. That's up to the companies' leadership to assess” the situation, he said Thursday in a news conference in Brussels.

Macron's remarks come after French automaker Renault announced plans to pause production at its Moscow plant in an apparent move to fend off mounting criticism.

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Macron said he requested all French companies operating in Russia to comply with EU sanctions.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on French multinationals to stop indirectly supporting the war against Ukraine by leaving Russia, in a speech to the French parliament on Wednesday.

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Naming Renault, supermarket chain Auchan and home improvement giant Leroy Merlin, Zelenskyy said they “must stop being sponsors of Russia's war machine.” ___ Brussels: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the world is united in its response to the Russian attack on Ukraine last month and said that sanctions against Russia were proving to be powerful.

Scholz told reporters in Brussels Thursday after the NATO summit that “we are united in our commitment to see these sanctions through as long as necessary and to keep reviewing them for effectiveness”.

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Asked about the threat of a possible nuclear, biological, chemical weapons attack by Russia, Scholz said such an attack “would be a breach of all the rules and agreements and conventions that exist”.

Scholz also said that Germany has committed to giving 370 million euros ($407 million) to Ukraine in humanitarian aid and pledged another 430 million euros for the global food supply to help prevent famines.

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He called on the international community to help Europe shoulder the burden of the millions of refugees arriving from Ukraine.

___ Brussels: Italian Premier Mario Draghi says “extraordinary unity among allies” characterised both the NATO and G-7 meetings in Brussels.

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Draghi told reporters during a break in gatherings on Thursday that the unity pertained to both applying the sanctions against Russia as well as to ”deciding to toughen them if necessary.” He described as “unanimous” the analyses by summit participants that the sanctions are being “extraordinarily effective. The Russian economy is strongly weakened.” As for the drama of the millions of refugees from Ukraine, Draghi said the feeling among participants was that the humanitarian drama must be managed, in addition to on a European level, also on world level, with the full involvement of the United Nations.

Regarding China, ''there was no condemnation, on the contrary, there was the hope that China contributes to the peace process,” the Italian leader said. (AP) SCY SCY

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Published March 24th, 2022 at 23:41 IST

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