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Biden Promises Air Defence Aid to Ukraine Amid Rising Tensions

Biden Promises Air Defence Aid to Ukraine Amid Rising Tensions

Biden has asserted that Ukraine will stay free and sovereign, affirming it will prevail over Russia.

US President Joe Biden has pledged to supply Ukraine with five new strategic air defence systems to counter ongoing Russian attacks, in a robust speech welcoming Nato leaders to Washington DC.

In brief yet resolute remarks at the summit’s opening, the president affirmed the military alliance as “more potent than ever” amidst what he termed a “decisive moment” in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Mr Biden announced that the US, in collaboration with Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Romania, would donate Patriot missile batteries and other systems to aid Ukraine, in light of escalating civilian casualties in the conflict.

The announcement came just two days after a Russian missile struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv, an attack described by the city’s mayor as among the most severe since the conflict began. Monday’s attack claimed 43 lives across the country, with over a hundred more injured, according to officials. While Russia denied responsibility, the UN and analysts, including those interviewed by BBC Verify, attributed blame to Moscow.

President Volodymyr Zelensky had long implored Western allies to bolster Ukraine’s air defence capabilities. Overall, Nato plans to provide five strategic air defence systems and numerous smaller anti-air batteries over the next year.

“The war will conclude with Ukraine remaining a free and sovereign nation,” Mr Biden affirmed on Tuesday afternoon. “Russia will not triumph. Ukraine will prevail.”

President Biden spoke for about 13 minutes in a clear voice, a marked difference from his hesitant tone during last month’s presidential debate with Trump. In a speech aimed at reassuring both overseas allies and domestic audiences amid challenges to his leadership from the Republican camp, Biden cautioned against the threat posed by “autocrats” overturning global order.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats held a private meeting to discuss Biden’s leadership, with lawmakers telling the Associated Press that the mood was sombre. Later on Tuesday, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey became the seventh House Democrat to publicly call on Mr Biden not to seek re-election, citing the high stakes involved.

Visiting diplomats also expressed scepticism about Mr Biden’s future, according to reports. “We don’t see how he can come back after the debate,” one unnamed European envoy told Reuters. “I can’t imagine him being at the helm of the US and Nato for four more years.”

Mr Biden’s team responded by highlighting the 81-year-old’s vigour and capability to meet the demands of the presidency. The White House credited Biden’s leadership for Nato’s expansion since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, with Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.

Leaders from the 32 member countries have gathered in Washington for the summit. Among them is the UK’s new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer, who expressed Labour’s unwavering support for Nato before departing for Washington.

Asked by reporters accompanying him to the summit about his message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sir Keir said the summit should be seen as a unified resolve by Nato allies to stand with Ukraine and oppose Russian aggression. He noted that the recent tragic attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv underscored the importance of this resolve.

Sir Keir added that the package of support for Ukraine the UK was advocating for at the summit “goes beyond the support that’s been offered before”. He is scheduled to meet Mr Biden on Wednesday, along with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress.

Source ~ BBC

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