Biden promises Ukraine more air defence systems on first day of NATO summit

US president Joe Biden promised Ukraine additional air defence equipment, including new Patriot systems, at the NATO summit in Washington. The US, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will provide the assets in the coming months, Biden announced at a ceremony marking NATO's 75th anniversary.

The announcement follows deadly Russian missile strikes across Ukraine this week, which destroyed a major children's hospital in Kyiv. More than 40 people were killed, according to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The country has struggled to defend itself from missile attacks due to a lack of anti-aircraft equipment.

The delivery of more Patriot air defence systems is NATO's attempt to change that. In addition, "dozens of tactical air defence systems" will be delivered by the US and other partners in the coming months. These include NASAMS, HAWK, Gepard and IRIS-T systems, which will "expand and strengthen Ukraine's air defence coverage".

A 'strong statement'

Zelensky spoke of a "tangible result" on the first day of the summit in Washington. On X, he thanked partners for "a strong statement in support of Ukraine's air defence to protect its people, cities and critical infrastructure".

Also on Tuesday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced that member states would sign a new defence industry commitment at the summit. The aim is to strengthen the industry in Europe and North America, making it more innovative and capable of large-scale production.

Biden called the alliance "stronger than ever" in a speech at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where 12 countries, including Belgium, signed the North Atlantic Treaty 75 years ago, creating NATO. The summit ends on Thursday.


US president Joe Biden at the NATO summit © PHOTO JIM WATSON / AFP

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