(NewsNation) — Poland is turning to the West for reassurance amid a growing refugee crisis and fears of becoming the target of a future Russian invasion.
The president will speak at the NATO summit in Brussels before he heads to Poland on Friday. Tensions are rising in Poland, where U.S. troops are on the ground, preparing to hold the line should the war in Ukraine cross into NATO territory.
The U.S. has emphasized that troops will not enter Ukraine.
Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski said he wants to see Biden back his commitment to NATO with action.
“(F)or his announcements that every inch of NATO territory will be defended because it allows us to be called and do our job peacefully. And of course, we want President Biden to confirm that,” Trzaskowski said.
As fears of Poland becoming the target of a future Russian invasion linger, a growing refugee crisis continues to affect the nation.
More than 2.1 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland. That’s more than the entire population of Warsaw.
“Our city’s population was enlarged by almost 20% in three weeks,” Trzaskowski said. “So of course, it puts an enormous strain on the city’s services.”
Biden arrived in Brussels on Wednesday for a four-day trip that will test his ability to navigate Europe’s worst crisis since World War II ended in 1945. There are fears that Russia could use chemical or nuclear weapons as its invasion becomes bogged down in the face of logistical problems and fierce Ukrainian resistance.
“I think it’s a real threat,” Biden said of the possibility of Russia deploying chemical weapons. He spoke during a brief exchange with reporters at the White House before his departure.
Humanitarian challenges are growing as well. Millions of refugees have fled the fighting, mostly by crossing the border into Poland, and the war has jeopardized Ukraine’s wheat and barley harvests, raising the possibility of rising hunger in impoverished areas around the globe.