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NATO allies pledge new air defence systems for Ukraine to ‘stop Putin’ – National


Under a new joint agreement, the United States and other NATO allies will send dozens of air defense systems to Ukraine in the coming months, including at least four powerful Patriot systems that Kiev is desperately seeking to stem the Russian advance in the war.

“Today I am announcing a historic donation of air defense equipment to Ukraine,” President Joe Biden said at the opening of the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday. “The United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will provide Ukraine with equipment for five additional strategic air defense systems.”

In addition, he said the United States and other countries would provide them with dozens of other tactical air defense systems and hundreds of munitions in the coming months.

The announcement was made with much fanfare at the start of the summit in Mellon Auditorium, where the North Atlantic Treaty was first signed in 1949, establishing NATO. There, both Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke urgently about the importance of the alliance and the need to stand together in support of Ukraine.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin wants nothing less than to “wipe Ukraine off the map,” Biden said. “And we know Putin will not stop in Ukraine. But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin.”

According to a joint statement released Tuesday, the U.S., Germany and Romania will send additional Patriot batteries to Ukraine, while the Netherlands and other countries will provide Patriot components to build another battery. Italy will provide a SAMP-T air defense system.

Other partner countries, including Canada, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, will provide several other systems that will help Ukraine expand its coverage. Those systems include NASAMS, HAWKs, IRIS T-SLM, IRIS T-SLS and Gepards. And other nations have agreed to provide ammunition for those systems.


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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made clear in a social media post on Tuesday that air defense is still his country's key demand, and he has repeatedly called for more Patriot systems.

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“We are fighting for more air defense systems for Ukraine, and I am confident we will succeed,” he said. “We are also trying to secure more aircraft, including F-16s. Additionally, we are striving for increased security guarantees for Ukraine, including weapons, financial aid and political support.”

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Earlier this year he said Ukraine urgently needed seven more Patriot batteries to fend off Russian attacks using devastating glide bombs on power grids, military and civilian areas.

He said the Patriot system would help prevent Russian aircraft from flying close enough to drop glide bombs on civilians and critical infrastructure. He said Russia was dropping 3,000 bombs on his country every month.

The commitment for new air defense systems comes as Russia continues to bomb Ukraine, including a deadly attack on a children’s hospital in Kiev on Monday that killed at least 42 people.

On Tuesday, Zelensky urged the United States and Europe to take “decisive action” to reinforce their troops and vowed to do everything possible to defeat Russia.

The United States has already sent two Patriot missile systems to Ukraine – one late last year and, according to US officials, another last month. And Romania's top defense body said late last month that the country would donate a Patriot missile system to neighboring Ukraine.

Many European allies are reluctant to give up their air defense systems, as they also worry about potential threats from Russia.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin formed a coalition of more than 50 countries two years ago to provide arms and training to Ukraine.

Ukraine eventually wants to join NATO to guard against future attacks by Russia, but candidates must be approved by all members of the alliance, some of which are wary of provoking a direct conflict with Russia.

Some members want the alliance to make clear that Ukraine is “irreversibly” moving toward NATO and are keen for language beyond the alliance’s pledge last year in a summit statement that “Ukraine’s future is in NATO.”

A senior NATO official said on Tuesday that Russia does not have enough ammunition and troops to launch a major attack in Ukraine and it needs to ensure supply of ammunition from other countries in addition to the ammunition it already has.

But he estimated that Russia would be able to sustain its war economy for three to four years, adding that it would “take some time” for Ukraine to accumulate the weapons and personnel needed to launch its own large-scale offensive operations.

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—With additional files from Reuters

© 2024 The Canadian Press



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