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NATO summit: Biden announces plan to send Ukraine new patriot missile batteries

US President Joe Biden speaks during the NATO 75th Anniversary Celebratory Event at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

In a speech to NATO leaders, US President Joe Biden has announced plans to supply new patriot missile batteries to Ukraine, as Russia intensifies its military campaign against its neighboring country.

“These five strategic air defense systems will help to protect Ukrainian cities, civilians, and soldiers, and we are coordinating closely with the Ukrainian government so that these systems can be utilized rapidly,” Biden said in at the opening of NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday.

“We are working on a further announcement this year of additional strategic air defense systems for Ukraine,” he added.

The US, Germany and Romania announced in a joint statement that each of them would provide a Patriot battery of their own while the Netherlands will work with other countries to enable an additional Patriot battery

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is going to make decisions on Ukraine at the three-day summit.

Stoltenberg made the remarks as he discussed the alliance's plans to develop a membership "bridge" for Ukraine with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  

The two officials discussed "expected decisions" during the upcoming meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council on Thursday "to build a bridge to NATO membership while enabling Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression, today and in the future."

In reaction, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will follow closely the NATO summit in Washington.

Moscow would follow "with the greatest attention... the rhetoric at the talks and the decisions that will be taken and put on paper," he said.

He said the US-led military alliance "has regularly declared its aim to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield" and "is taking part directly in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Ukraine."

The summit marking NATO's 75th anniversary started on Tuesday, with arming Ukraine's air defenses on top of the agenda.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also attends the summit along with other world leaders.

The summit was held a day after Ukrainian authorities claimed Russia had struck the main children's hospital in Kiev with a missile and rained missiles on other cities across Ukraine, killing at least 41 civilians.

In response, the Kremlin says that Ukrainian anti-missile fire, not Russian ones, had hit the hospital, stressing that Moscow “does not conduct strikes on civilian targets.”

Russia launched a special military operation in eastern Ukraine in February 2022. Moscow said the objective of the military campaign was to put an end to the ongoing atrocities against the Russian-speaking people of the region and to stop the encroachment of US-led NATO troops on Russian borders.

Moscow has warned that the West's military support of Ukraine will only prolong the war.  

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