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Harris to attend Munich Security Conference later this month amid Russia-Ukraine tensions

<i>NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington
AFP via Getty Images
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington

By Jasmine Wright and Kate Sullivan, CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the Munich Security Conference this month, a White House official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.

Harris’ latest high-profile foreign trip comes as the US has partnered with key allies in attempt to deter Russia from invading Ukraine.

The vice president is expected to hold multiple in-person meetings with those allies as the trip will serve as yet another major diplomatic test for Harris.

A White House official said Harris will deliver remarks asserting the US commitment to NATO and its allies.

Reuters was first to report the news of the trip.

Harris’ speech is expected to be closely watched by European leaders for US positioning on Ukraine and comes at a very high-stakes moment for the administration and global politics.

Though the President on Monday reaffirmed his belief that Russia could still deescalate and pursue a diplomatic off-ramp, the US is still preparing for a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. The President has formally approved the deployment of 3,000 US troops to Poland, Germany and Romania, the Pentagon announced last week — a move to bolster NATO countries in Eastern Europe with tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed along Ukraine’s border.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said this week Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to add “sizable forces” near the Ukrainian border and the number of troops is “well north of 100,000.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that Moscow’s deployment into Belarus is the biggest since the Cold War, with “an expected 30,000 combat troops, Spetsnaz special operation forces, fighter jets including SU-35, Iskander dual-capable missiles and S-400 air defense systems.”

The White House has also approved a plan presented by the Pentagon for the nearly 2,000 US troops in Poland to help Americans who may try to evacuate Ukraine if Russia invades, according to two US officials familiar with the matter.

This will be the vice president’s second trip to Europe, following on her trip to Paris in November. The vice president has visited several other nations, including Guatemala, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam. Her foreign policy portfolio has largely been focused on Central America, as the President tasked Harris with addressing the root causes of migration in the region.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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