President Joe Biden left Sunday for Britain to meet with King Charles III before continuing to Vilnius for a NATO summit, then a final stop in new NATO member Finland.
Biden departed Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and was due to arrive in key US ally Britain late Sunday.
On Monday, he meets with the British monarch at Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences, for the first time since Charles III’s coronation. The US president did not attend the ceremony, sending First Lady Jill Biden instead.
Their talks are expected to focus on environmental issues, the White House said. Biden will also be meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street.
The main part of Biden’s Europe trip will be the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital Tuesday and Wednesday, where the Western allies will discuss helping Ukraine to oust Russian occupation forces.
Biden hopes to use the summit to pressure Turkey into dropping opposition to Sweden’s all-but-cleared NATO membership bid. But he has said he will resist calls for promising Ukraine quick entry into the alliance. Entry requires unanimous consent from the other members.
While in Vilnius, Biden will also deliver a major foreign policy speech at the city’s university.
His trip comes in the wake of a controversial decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which most NATO member countries have banned but which the United States continues to use and says will help Ukraine destroy heavily dug-in Russian forces.
Biden’s final stop before returning to Washington on Thursday will be Finland, which ended its historic neutrality to enter NATO in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Biden will be the first US president to visit Helsinki since Donald Trump went five years ago to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.