NATO Summit Seeks to Guarantee Ukraine’s Defense

NATO Summit Seeks to Guarantee Ukraine’s Defense
NATO Summit Seeks to Guarantee Ukraine’s Defense

NATO leaders are entering the tough negotiations, determined to strengthen their support for Ukraine and overcome the political doubts and uncertainties surrounding this historic summit.

After celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Western military alliance in grand style the previous evening, they are due to meet within the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s highest political body, to discuss the terms of this increased support for Ukraine, which is facing a growing barrage of Russian missiles.

US President Joe Biden already confirmed on Tuesday evening that the allies would provide Ukraine with a total of five anti-aircraft defense systems, including four Patriot batteries, surface-to-air missiles that are particularly effective in intercepting Russian ballistic missiles.

The systems are being loudly called for by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is also in Washington. He thanked allies on Tuesday for their “strong statement” of support, calling on them not to let their guard down as they await the results of the November elections in the United States.

Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy are also expected to contribute.
“It is time to come out of the shadows, to make strong decisions, to work, to act and not to wait until November or any other month,” the Ukrainian president said Tuesday evening in a speech before the Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington.

“Russia will not win,” Joe Biden, 81, forcefully promised in a highly anticipated speech after questions about his ability to defend the colors of the Democratic camp, four months before the American presidential election.

Russia has recently stepped up its missile strikes against Ukraine, killing 43 people and devastating the country’s largest children’s hospital in kyiv. Russian missiles have also destroyed half of Ukraine’s electricity-generating capacity.
The Allies have also committed to providing additional Patriot or equivalent missiles “this year” and “dozens” of tactical air defense systems “in the coming months,” according to the American president.

More than two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this support is “not a given”, the outgoing Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, was keen to point out on Tuesday evening during an anniversary ceremony of the Atlantic Alliance. This took place in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where the Atlantic Treaty founding the organization of the same name was signed 75 years ago.

“There are no cost-free options with an aggressive Russia as a neighbor,” he said, recalling that the “highest cost and the greatest risk would be if Russia wins in Ukraine.”

The heads of state and government arrived in the American capital on Tuesday, with the exception of French President Emmanuel Macron, who is not expected until Wednesday. He will try to reassert his place on the international stage, while his partners are worried about a weakening of France after the legislative elections.

The Washington summit comes amid political uncertainty in the United States, where President Biden has his work cut out for him to quell a rebellion by Democratic lawmakers demanding he drop out of the race for a second term in November against Donald Trump.
The shadow of the former Republican president looms over the summit.

He did not hold back from commenting on the summit, assuring on Tuesday that without it, “there would probably be no more NATO now.” He thus credited the commitments made by Europeans to spend more on their defense.

In addition to a North Atlantic Council, leaders are due to attend a dinner in the evening, with foreign and defence ministers also attending.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who holds the EU presidency, will have the opportunity to report on his trips to Moscow and Beijing, which were very poorly received, particularly in Washington.

The Ukrainian president is due to meet with elected officials before attending a NATO-Ukraine Council on Thursday, the last day of the summit. Ukraine has requested a formal invitation to join NATO, but will have to wait due to opposition from several countries, including the United States.

On the other hand, it should obtain that this promise of adhesion is “irreversible”, according to a diplomat, specifying however that certain conditions would be added.

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