Biden declares Ukraine 'can and will' stop Putin as he confirms NATO will send 'dozens' of air defence systems to Kyiv

10 July 2024, 00:44 | Updated: 10 July 2024, 07:19

Joe Biden confirmed NATO will send “dozens” of air defence systems to Ukraine
Joe Biden confirmed NATO will send “dozens” of air defence systems to Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

By Will Conroy

Joe Biden confirmed NATO will send “dozens” of air defence systems to Ukraine as he declared that Kyiv “can and will” stop Vladmir Putin.

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The US President’s speech opened the alliance's summit in Washington DC as he emphasised the importance of NATO and international stability.

This comes following the latest Russian attack on a children’s hospital that killed at least 31 people.

The meeting marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of NATO, which was created in the aftermath of the Second World War.

During the speech, Mr Biden promised that the US and four other allies would provide Ukraine with "dozens of additional tactical air defence systems".

The US President’s speech opened the alliance's summit in Washington DC
The US President’s speech opened the alliance's summit in Washington DC. Picture: Alamy

These will include four Patriot systems that Kyiv has been seeking to fight off the Russian advance.

However, the US president did not commit to sending additional F-16 fighter jets – something Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader, signalled he had hoped to secure on Tuesday.

“The United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will provide Ukraine with… five additional strategic air defence systems,” Mr Biden said.

Follow the NATO summit with LBC
Follow the NATO summit with LBC. Picture: LBC

He continued: “In the coming months, the United States and our partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air defence systems.

“The United States will make sure that when we export critical air defence interceptors, Ukraine goes to the front of the line.”

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Mr Biden paid tribute to Nato as the “greatest” military alliance in history, saying it was supported by the “overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans”.

“The American people know that all the progress we’ve made in the past 75 years has happened behind the shield of Nato,” he said.

The US Department of State said the summit would celebrate "the most successful and enduring alliance in history and set the course for the Alliance's evolution to meet future challenges".

There was particularly strong scrutiny on Mr Biden’s speech following his performance in the US leaders’ television debate last month with Donald Trump.

After stumbling over words and seeming flustered, polls have shown him losing ground to his Republican rival.

The current president appeared to use the speech to contrast his foreign policy views with Mr Trump’s.

There was particularly strong scrutiny on Mr Biden’s speech following his performance in the US leaders’ television debate
There was particularly strong scrutiny on Mr Biden’s speech following his performance in the US leaders’ television debate. Picture: Alamy

In a contrasting attitude to the former president, Mr Biden said: "An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans understand that Nato makes us all safer.

“The American people understand what would happen if there was no Nato,” he said, while painting a picture of war and economic catastrophe.

Towards the end of his speech, Mr Biden awarded the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian award in the US, to the outgoing general secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

“A billion people across Europe and North America, indeed the whole world, will reap the rewards of your labour for years to come in the form of security, opportunity and greater freedom,” the US President said.

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