Nato to send dozens of air defences to Ukraine, says Biden

Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of Nato - AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Nato will send “dozens” of air defence systems to Ukraine, Joe Biden has said, including four Patriot systems that Kyiv has been seeking to fight off the Russian advance.

The US President declared that Ukraine “can and will” stop Vladimir Putin, but did not commit to sending additional F-16 fighter jets – something Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader, signalled he had hoped to secure on Tuesday.

“The United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will provide Ukraine with… five additional strategic air defence systems,” Mr Biden said.

It marked a gaffe-free performance for the 81-year-old following his disastrous debate with Donald Trump last month.

He continued: “In the coming months, the United States and our partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air defence systems.

“The United States will make sure that when we export critical air defence interceptors, Ukraine goes to the front of the line.”

The US, along with Germany and Romania, will send the Patriot batteries over to Ukraine, while the Netherlands and other Nato member states will send components to make up another battery. Italy will provide a SAMP-T air defence system.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg urged countries across the alliance to maintain their backing for Kyiv, warning that if Russia wins it will be the “greatest risk” for Nato.

“The outcome of this war will shape global security for decades to come,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

“The time to stand for freedom and democracy is now. The place is Ukraine.”

Joe Biden embraces Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of Nato
Joe Biden embraces Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of Nato - Abaca

Mr Biden paid tribute to Nato as the “greatest” military alliance in history, saying it was supported by the “overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans”.

“The American people know that all the progress we’ve made in the past 75 years has happened behind the shield of Nato,” he said.

He did not mention Donald Trump, a longstanding critic of the alliance. However, he stole his Republican rival’s talking points when he claimed that member states had started spending more on defence during his time in office.

Some 23 allies will spend meet their two per cent spending obligations this year, the US President said – up from nine when he came to office in 2021.

Biden awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Stoltenberg
Biden awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Stoltenberg - Bloomberg

Mr Biden awarded the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian award in the US, to Mr Stoltenberg.

“A billion people across Europe and North America, indeed the whole world, will reap the rewards of your labour for years to come in the form of security, opportunity and greater freedom,” he said.


11:40 PM BST

That’s all for now

Thanks for following our coverage of Joe Biden’s speech to the Nato 75th anniversary summit. This live blog is now closed.


11:00 PM BST

Stoltenberg awarded presidential medal of freedom

Joe Biden bestows the presidential medal of freedom of Jens Stoltenberg, the outgoing secretary general of Nato.

”A billion people across Europe and North America, indeed the whole world, will reap the rewards of your labour for years to come in the form of security, opportunity and greater freedom,” he says.


10:58 PM BST

Biden: Americans know that Nato keeps us safe

“Let me say this, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans understand that Nato makes us all safer,” Joe Biden says.

Joe Biden speaks at a NATO event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the alliance, in Washington, DC
Joe Biden speaks at a NATO event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the alliance, in Washington, DC - REUTERS/Yves Herman

“The American people know that all the progress we’ve made in the past 75 years has happened behind the shield of Nato.”

Mr Biden quotes Ronald Reagan: “If our fellow democracies are not secure, we cannot be secure.”


10:56 PM BST

Defence systems being sent to Ukraine, says Biden

The US, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will send five strategic defence systems to Ukraine, Joe Biden announced.

“Make no mistake Russia is failing in this war,” Joe Biden says, saying 350,000 troops have been wounded while nearly one million Russians have fled the country to avoid conscription.

He adds: “Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.”


10:53 PM BST

Biden: Ukraine will stop Putin

“Make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin,” Joe Biden says.


10:52 PM BST

Nato allies are spending more under me, says Biden

Joe Biden is speaking about the growth of Nato.

“Finland and Sweden joined the alliance not just because their leaders thought it, but because their citizens called for it, in overwhelming number,” he says, calling the bloc “Better resourced than it ever has been.”

Only nine Nato allies were meeting defence spending obligations when he came to office, Mr Biden says. “This year 23 will spend at least two percent - and some will spend more than that,” he claims.


10:49 PM BST

Biden: Nato is greatest alliance in history

Joe Biden, who is speaking clearly and has so far avoided any verbal mishaps, calls Nato “the single greatest, most effective defensive alliance in the history of the world”.

He calls the support from Nato allies following the September 11 attacks a “breathtaking display of friendship”. “They have a stake in our success, and we have a stake in theirs,” he says.


10:47 PM BST

Biden onstage now

Joe Biden is beginning his speech at the Nato summit, speaking about the foundation of the alliance under former president Harry Truman.


10:45 PM BST

Stoltenberg: Nato needs politicians to show courage

Nato allies need to take “difficult decisions with political courage and moral clarity”, Jens Stoltenberg says. He concludes: “We are stronger and safer together in Nato. It is good to have friends.”


10:41 PM BST

‘We cannot let Russia win in Ukraine’

“Russia’s war against Ukraine is the biggest security crisis in generations,” Jens Stoltenberg says.

He continues: “Ukraine has shown remarkable courage. And Nato allies have provided unprecedented support.

“But let’s be honest. Not even our support for Ukraine has been a given. It is not straightforward.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a NATO event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the alliance
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a NATO event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the alliance - REUTERS/Yves Herman

“Because our support comes with costs and risks. The reality is there are no cost-free options with an aggressive Russia as a neighbour.”

“The greatest cost and the greatest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine. We cannot let that happen,” Mr Stoltenberg says, adding that it would embolden autocrats in North Korea, Iran and China.


10:37 PM BST

Stoltenberg: Nato is longest-lasting military alliance ever

Nato is “most successful”, “strongest” and “longest-lasting alliance in history”, Jens Stoltenberg, the bloc’s secretary general, says.

He pays tribute to “courageous leaders on both sides of the Atlantic” who faced down critics to create Nato in the 1940s.


10:33 PM BST

Pictures: World leaders gather onstage before Biden speech

President Joe Biden takes his place alongside world leaders at the Nato summit
President Joe Biden takes his place alongside world leaders at the Nato summit - AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Joe Biden, President of Finland Alexander Stubb and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gather onstage for a group photo
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Joe Biden, President of Finland Alexander Stubb and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gather onstage for a group photo - JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

10:18 PM BST

First Lady takes her seat ahead of Biden speech

Jill Biden, the First Lady, is taking her seat in the front row at the Nato summit in Washington, DC. Joe Biden’s speech should be imminent.

Jill Biden arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary Celebratory Event at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington
Jill Biden arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary Celebratory Event at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington - SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Image

10:08 PM BST

Why ‘Trump-proofing’ Nato is a priority

The purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), its first secretary-general once remarked, is to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down”.

Lord Ismay’s aphorism has always been a useful way to describe the alliance. But as Nato leaders gather in Washington to mark the 75th anniversary of the alliance this week, it feels more relevant than ever.

The Russians are banging on Europe’s door in a way they have not for years. The Germans, no longer in need of keeping down, are now under pressure from allies to raise themselves to the occasion.

But it is keeping the Americans in that will be the unspoken priority.

Read the full analysis from Roland Oliphant here.


09:55 PM BST

Pictures: European leaders gather in Washington for summit

Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary summit in Washington, DC
Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary summit in Washington, DC - BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary summit
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for the NATO 75th Anniversary summit - BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, arrives with his wife at the Nato 75th Anniversary summit
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, arrives with his wife at the Nato 75th Anniversary summit - JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

09:52 PM BST

Pictured: PM to make first international appearance at Nato summit

The Prime Minister will soon be making his debut on the world stage as he heads for the Nato summit in Washington, DC.

Sir Keir Starmer has previously said he looks forward to sitting down with Joe Biden, the US President, at the gathering. He is also expected to meet Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a Nato summit
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a Nato summit - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

09:46 PM BST

Zelensky: We need F-16s and air defences


09:45 PM BST

Nato is bigger and better than before, says Blinken

Nato is “ready to take on the challenges” facing the military alliance, Antony Blinken has said, as he welcomed Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg to Washington, DC.

“We have an alliance that is stronger, that is larger, and that is more fit for purpose than it’s been, and ready to take on the challenges of this moment,” the US Secretary of State said.

“It’s a product of leadership, and I’ve seen it every single day these past three and a half years with the Secretary General.

“I’ve also seen it with President Biden and everything he’s done to lead our alliance to the place that it is today and that we’ll be putting a real spotlight on over the next three days.”


09:38 PM BST

Pictured: Spectre of Trump looms over Nato summit

A mock magazine cover of Joe Biden at Donald Trump's golf resort in Doral, Florida
A mock magazine cover of Joe Biden at Donald Trump's golf resort in Doral, Florida - REUTERS/Marco Bello

09:32 PM BST

Blinken: Ukraine will get ‘very strong’ support package

Ukraine will come out of this week’s Nato summit with a “very strong” support package, Antony Blinken has said.

The US Secretary of State, appearing alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, said the gathering of Nato allies would “further strengthen Ukraine’s ties to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its path to membership.”

“We’ve done a lot of work in recent weeks and recent months on that, and I think you’ll see a very strong package emerge from the summit for Ukraine,” he added.

He added: “We’ve been working closely together to make sure that as things move forward, Ukraine has what it needs to stand strongly on its own feet militarily, economically, democratically.”

Mr Blinken went on to say that Nato was committed to seeing Ukraine succeeded as a “strong country... that will be manifested in very concrete ways over the next couple of days”.


09:16 PM BST

Welcome

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Nato 75th anniversary summit. Benedict Smith here. We’ll be bringing you the latest updates for Joe Biden’s speech, which is due to begin at 10pm BST (5pm ET).

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