State Department Head to Discuss Ukraine and Afghanistan in Brussels

Secretary of State and Defense Secretary Austin Blinken’s trip to Belgium will take place amid heightened tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will visit Brussels again in the coming days to discuss the situation in Iran and Afghanistan, as well as Russia’s actions against Ukraine, a U.S. official said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to Brussels with him. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday, did not give details of the trip.

Austin was scheduled to visit NATO headquarters in Belgium as part of a tour that began Saturday that also includes stops in Israel, Germany and Britain, the Pentagon said the other day.

The trip by the two members of Joe Biden’s cabinet will come amid heightened tensions over Russian actions near the border with Ukraine, where Washington says Russia has amassed more troops than it has since 2014, when it annexed Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused Ukraine of “dangerous provocative actions” in the Donbass.

Turkey, which is part of NATO, said Friday that the U.S. will deploy two warships in the Black Sea on April 14-15.

Blinken first visited Brussels in March, where he held talks with EU and NATO officials and promised to rebuild the transatlantic alliances and breathe new life into them.

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