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NATO makes ‘historic’ Ukraine air defense pledge

The US-led alliance will provide four new Patriot systems and “dozens” of other interceptors

NATO countries said they will provide five additional strategic air defense systems to Ukraine in response to Kiev’s pleas to help fend off persistent Russian airstrikes. US President Joe Biden announced the “historic donation” during the summit in Washington, DC, where NATO leaders gathered on Tuesday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Western alliance. 

According to the statement signed by several NATO members and Ukraine, the US, Germany and Romania will donate a new Patriot battery each, while the Netherlands “and other partners” will supply components to “enable the operation of an additional Patriot battery.” Italy has pledged to deliver a new SAMP-T system. 

“In addition, in the coming months, the United States and partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of tactical air defense systems, including NASAMS, HAWKs, IRIS T-SLM, IRIS T-SLS, and Gepard systems,” the statement read. 

Overall, Washington promised to provide Ukraine with “hundreds of additional air defense interceptors over the next year.”

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The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC before the NATO leaders summit.
Kremlin reveals position on NATO summit

Addressing the attendees of the summit in Washington, Biden said that the US will prioritize Ukraine in terms of weapons deliveries. “The United States will make sure that when we export critical defense interceptors, Ukraine goes to the front of the line. They will get this assistance before anyone else gets it,” the president said.

Biden reaffirmed the commitment to back Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. “Today NATO is stronger than it’s ever been in its history,” he added.

Kiev has been warning for many months that the number of anti-air systems provided so far is not nearly enough to effectively deter Russian airstrikes, with Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky telling NATO in April that Ukraine needs at least seven additional Patriot batteries or similar weapons. Moscow has reported destroying several Patriot launchers since 2023.

Russia has maintained that the deliveries of Western weapons will lead to more escalation but will ultimately fail to stop the Russian army in Ukraine. 

July 10, 2024 at 05:59AM
RT

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