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

The U.S. and an array of other NATO allies will send Ukraine dozens of air defense systems in the coming months, including at least four of the powerful Patriot systems that Kyiv has been desperately seeking to help fight off Russian advances in the war, according to a new joint agreement.

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

In addition, he said that in the coming months the United States and others will provide dozens of other tactical air defense systems and hundreds of munitions for them.

The announcement was made with much fanfare as the summit opened at the 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.

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

According to the joint statement released Tuesday, the U.S., Germany and Romania will send Ukraine additional Patriot batteries, while the Netherlands and others will provide Patriot components to make up one more battery. Italy will provide a SAMP-T air defense system.

Other allies, including Canada, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, will provide a number of 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 munitions for those systems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a social media post on Tuesday, made it clear that air defense is still his country’s key request, and he has repeatedly asked for more Patriot systems.

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

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