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Joe Biden vows Ukraine will stop Putin at NATO summit in Washington

US President Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden. Copyright Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP
Copyright Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP
By Euronews
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The US president has pledged new air defence systems to enhance Ukraine's struggling effort against Russia's full-scale invasion.

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US President Joe Biden has vowed to continue defending Ukraine against Russia's invasion, insisting Ukraine can and will stop Putin.

Biden delivered his remarks at a NATO summit convened in Washington to mark the military alliance's 75th anniversary.

"We know Putin won't stop in Ukraine," Biden said.

"Putin wants nothing less than Ukraine's total subjugation, to end Ukraine's democracy, to destroy Ukraine's culture, and to wipe Ukraine off the map. And we know Putin won't stop at Ukraine. But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin," added Biden.

Biden also surprised outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US's highest civilian honour, crediting him with bringing the 32-member alliance back to life.

U.S. President Joe Biden points to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony celebrating NATO 75th
U.S. President Joe Biden points to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony celebrating NATO 75thAdrian Wyld/AP

Stoltenberg, who has spent nearly a decade in the role and will be replaced in October by the former prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, urged the West not to flag in its support for Ukraine.

The NATO chief warned in his remarks that NATO faces "serious security challenges" and needs to step up cooperation.

"The time to stand for freedom and democracy is now," said Stoltenberg, insisting that to abandon Ukraine would be a strategic disaster.

"Not only would it embolden President Putin, it would also encourage other authoritarian leaders in Iran, North Korea, and China. They all support Russia's brutal war. They all want NATO to fail. So the outcome of this war will shape global security for decades to come."

The three-day summit, which began Tuesday, is on ways to reassure Ukraine of NATO’s enduring support and offer some hope to its war-weary citizens that their country might survive the biggest land conflict in Europe in decades.

Even though most allies believe that Russia could pose an existential threat to Europe, NATO itself is not arming Ukraine.

NATO leaders pose for a family photo before President Joe Biden, front row center, delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Tuesday
NATO leaders pose for a family photo before President Joe Biden, front row center, delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, TuesdayEvan Vucci/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

The summit also comes as the US and its allies face the prospect that Donald Trump will either leave the alliance or greatly diminish the US's role in it if he wins the November elections.

Those fears have been heightened recently as Biden's health faces intense scrutiny after a disastrously poor performance in a TV debate with Trump. Democratic Party lawmakers have been locked into discussions about whether and how to replace Biden as their presidential nominee, but it is almost impossible for them to do so unless he steps down voluntarily — something he has insisted he will not do.

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