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Biden announces new air defenses for Ukraine in NATO summit speech

U.S. President Joe Biden vows "Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail," in remarks Tuesday to NATO leaders on the 75th Anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
1 of 6 | U.S. President Joe Biden vows "Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail," in remarks Tuesday to NATO leaders on the 75th Anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 9 (UPI) -- In his opening speech at this week's NATO summit in Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden announced plans to supply new strategic air defense systems to Ukraine to fight off Russia's invasion, as he vowed "Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail."

"Together, we built a global coalition to stand with Ukraine," Biden told NATO leaders of the 32-member military alliance gathered Tuesday at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where NATO was formed 75 years ago.

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"All told, Ukraine will receive hundreds of additional interceptors over the next year, helping protect Ukrainian cities against Russian missiles and Ukrainian troops facing their attacks on the front lines," Biden proclaimed.

"The United States will make sure that when we export critical air defense interceptors, Ukraine goes to the front of the line," Biden added. "They will get this assistance before anyone else gets it."

During his 13-minute prepared remarks, Biden announced that Ukraine will receive five additional air defense units to help defend against Russian attacks. Biden's announcement comes one day after Russian strikes killed at least 38 people, including two people at a Kyiv's major children's hospital.

Germany and Romania will join the United States in providing Patriot batteries of their own. The Netherlands will join forces with other countries for an additional battery, while Italy will provide a SAMP-T long-range air defense system.

NATO leaders will draft a joint policy with support for Ukraine during their meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

"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," Biden said.

"Before this war, Putin thought NATO would break. Today, NATO is stronger than it's ever been in its history," Biden added. "When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it's still a free country and the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country."

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NATO's outgoing secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called for continued Western support for Ukraine during his speech, saying "the biggest cost and the greatest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine."

"The outcome of this war will shape global security for decades to come," Stoltenberg told NATO members before Biden awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

"Honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Biden," Stoltenberg wrote Tuesday in a post on X.

"I see this as a recognition not just for me, but for the millions of men and women who serve our great alliance, in and out of uniform," he added. "We are stronger and safer together in NATO."

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