US Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no sign of being willing to engage in diplomacy. This comment, by Harris, comes during a visit to Romania in the third week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Harris expressed US support for Romania’s efforts to help refugees from Ukraine and restated America’s commitment to protecting fellow NATO members during a tour of the alliance’s eastern flank countries. She said any attack on or targeting of civilians in Ukraine is a war crime.
She warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown “no signs of engaging in serious diplomacy” to end the war in Ukraine. She also reiterated that Americans should be prepared to endure higher gas prices as the US and its allies punish Russia, a major global oil supplier, with economic sanctions for the invasion.
“There is a price to pay for democracy. Gotta stand with your friends,” Harris said, adding that “sometimes it’s difficult, often it ain’t easy.”
Iohannis said he would increase his country’s defence spending from 2% to 2.5% of its gross domestic product, or GDP, the latest example of European nations investing more in national security amid Russian aggression.
He also said that NATO needs to “fundamentally rethink” its approach to its eastern flank, and he spoke with Harris about enhancing the alliance’s presence there.
“NATO will act without hesitation to defend each and every allied state, including, obviously, Romania,” Iohannis said. “It is a scenario that all of us want to avoid.”
Harris’ talks in Bucharest with Iohannis came after she spent Thursday in Poland, which has already welcomed some 1.5 million Ukrainians since the invasion began last month.
She met in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Ukrainian refugees and others in hopes of getting a fuller picture of the unfolding humanitarian crisis.