Joe Biden to Meet Andrzej Duda, U.S. Troops in Poland

President Joe Biden departed Brussels late Friday morning to travel to Poland on the last leg of his swing through Europe shoring up Western support for Ukraine.

The president is scheduled to visit Rzeszow later Friday, a city in southeastern Poland less than 100 miles from the Ukrainian border

Biden will meet with President Andrzej Duda of Poland, as well as with U.S. troops at a military base in Rzeszow. There are roughly 10,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Poland, part of a total of 100,000 U.S. troops spread out across Europe—the most since the mid-2000s.

The U.S. has increased its military presence in eastern Europe in recent weeks in a show of force to deter further Russian aggression in the region. Biden sent an additional 3,000 U.S. troops to Poland last month before Russia invaded Ukraine.

NATO has also taken steps to shore up its eastern flank amid concern that the war in Ukraine could spill into neighboring countries. NATO now has 40,000 troops under its direct command, and Thursday it approved the deployment of additional battlegroups to Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

"We are resetting NATO's deterrence and defense for the long term," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, announcing the new battleground deployments.

On Thursday, Biden said that while in Poland he hoped to "get to see a lot of people" impacted by the war, raising the possibility he may meet with Ukrainian refugees who have poured into Poland in recent weeks.

More than 3.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion last month, according to data kept by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Of those, 2.2 million have wound up in Poland, which has taken in more refugees by far than any other nation. Romania has accepted the second-highest number of Ukrainian refugees, at close to 600,000, followed by Moldova and Hungary.

The U.S. announced Thursday that it would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in an effort to help European countries handle the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

The announcement was part of a busy day in Brussels for Biden, who participated in summits with NATO, the G7 nations, and the European Council. Biden said Thursday that the U.S. would increase military aid to Ukraine and level new economic sanctions against more than 300 members of the Russia state Duma, among other individuals.

Biden capped the Brussels trip with a meeting Friday morning announcing a new joint task force with the EU aimed at reducing Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

"We're coming together to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy. Putin has issued Russia's energy resources to coerce and manipulate its neighbors," Biden said.

Joe Biden Poland trip
US President Joe Biden pictured during Biden's departure from Brussels to Poland, Friday 25 March 2022 after attending an extraordinary summit of NATO. He will now meet with President Andrzej Duda of Poland. Getty