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Biden Announces “Historic Transfer” of Additional Air Defense Systems at NATO Summit

Biden Announces “Historic Transfer” of Additional Air Defense Systems at NATO Summit
US President Joe Biden at the NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event during the NATO summit in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Source: Getty Images

At the opening of the NATO summit dedicated to the Alliance’s 75th anniversary, US President Joe Biden announced a historic decision by several countries to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems.

“I am announcing the historic transfer of air defense equipment to Ukraine,” Biden declared in his speech.

The details of this transfer were outlined in a joint statement by President Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Dutch and Italian Prime Ministers Dick Schoof and Giorgi Maloney, and Romanian and Ukrainian Presidents Klaus Iohannis and Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Today, we are announcing that we are jointly providing additional strategic air defense systems to Ukraine,” the statement said.

Germany and Romania will each supply one Patriot battery as pledged. Another Patriot battery will be assembled collaboratively by the Netherlands and other partners. Italy is set to deliver the SAMP/T system.

Additionally, the United States and its allies are planning to equip Ukraine with “dozens of air defense systems” in the coming months, including NASAMS, HAWK, IRIS-T, and Gepard systems.

“This includes additional Patriot batteries provided by the United States, Germany, and Romania; Patriot components provided by the Netherlands and other partners to support the operation of the additional Patriot battery; and an additional SAMP/T system provided by Italy.”

The leaders emphasized that these air defense systems would play a crucial role in protecting Ukrainian cities, civilians, and military personnel. They also highlighted their close cooperation with the Ukrainian government to ensure the prompt deployment and operational readiness of these systems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on his Twitter (X) that this marks another significant step following the US decision to prioritize the delivery of air defense missiles to Ukraine.

“Additional Patriots, SAMP/T, and IRIS-T SLM, as well as other tactical air defence systems provided to Ukraine by partners, will assist us in destroying Russian drones and missiles and better protecting Ukrainians from Russian air terror, such as yesterday’s brutal attack on our main children’s hospital,” Zelenskyy wrote.

He also expressed his gratitude to President Biden for his leadership and thanked all partner countries, stating, “I am grateful to our partners — the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Romania — for adopting a strong declaration in support of Ukraine’s air defense system to protect its people, cities, and critical infrastructure.”

The announcement marks a significant step in international efforts to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid ongoing conflicts in the region.

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