US, allies to dispatch 5 strategic air defense systems to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has announced that NATO allies will be providing Ukraine with a significant air defense package, in remarks kicking off the 75th anniversary celebrations of the alliance and a three-day summit focused on shoring up support for the war-torn country.

“Today, I’m announcing a historic donation of air defense equipment for Ukraine,” Biden said in remarks at the summit being held in Washington, D.C.

He added the U.S., along with Germany, Netherlands, Romania and Italy, “will provide Ukraine with the equipment for five additional strategic air defense systems and in the coming months, the United States and our partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air defense systems.”

Biden stated that the U.S. will make sure that Ukraine “gets this assistance before anyone else gets it” and that Ukraine will receive dozens of additional interceptors over the next year. He said interceptors will help Ukraine protect civilians against Russian missiles.

The new package follows a White House announcement last month that the U.S. would send Ukraine air defense missiles that were contracted for purchase by other countries after Kyiv pleaded with its supporters to send at least seven Patriot missile systems.

“Make no mistake, Russia is failing in this war,” the president continued, adding, “Make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop [Russian President Vladimir Putin].”

Biden is set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday. Biden’s remarks come ahead of the president’s highly anticipated press conference Thursday at the end of the summit.

Biden also said NATO has grown stronger and that Russia is “failing” in its war in Ukraine, as he vowed the alliance will continue standing up for freedom amid a rise in threats across the globe.

“Together, we built a global coalition to stand with Ukraine,” Biden stated, adding, “Make no mistake, Russia is failing in this war. More than two years into [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war of choice, its losses are staggering. More than 350,000 Russian troops, dead, wounded … many young people have left Russia because they no longer see a future in Russia.”

NATO leaders will gather Wednesday and Thursday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to draft a joint communiqué on policy, including support for Ukraine.

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