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Make no mistake, Russia failing in this war: Biden

Reiterating that Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine continues, he said the Russian president wants nothing less than Ukraine's total subjugation to end that country's democracy, to destroy its culture and to wipe it off the map.

Make no mistake, Russia failing in this war: Biden
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US President Joe Biden 

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a historic donation of air-defence equipment for Ukraine and said Russia is failing in this war.

Welcoming leaders of NATO member countries for the historic summit on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, Biden said the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy will provide Ukraine with the equipment for five additional strategic air-defence systems.

In the coming months, the US and its partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air-defence systems, he said, adding that the US will make sure that when "we export critical air-defence interceptors, Ukraine goes to the front of the line".

"They will get this assistance before anyone else gets it. All told, Ukraine will receive hundreds of additional interceptors over the next year, helping protect Ukrainian cities against Russian missile and Ukrainian troops facing air attacks on their front lines," Biden said.

"Make no mistake, Russia is failing in this war. More than two years into (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war of choice, his losses are staggering. More than 350,000 Russian troops dead or wounded, nearly one million (10 lakh) Russians, many of them young people, have left Russia because they no longer see a future in Russia," he said.

"Kiev, remember fellas and ladies, was supposed to fall in five days? Remember? Well, it is still standing two and a half years later and will continue to stand. All of the allies knew that before this war, Putin thought NATO would break. Today, NATO is stronger than it has ever been in its history. When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it is still a free country," the US president said.

Reiterating that Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine continues, he said the Russian president wants nothing less than Ukraine's total subjugation to end that country's democracy, to destroy its culture and to wipe it off the map.

"We know Putin will not stop at Ukraine, but make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin," Biden said.

He said the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country. "Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a pivotal moment for Europe, for the transatlantic community and I might add, for the world. Let us remember, the fact that NATO remains the bulwark of global security did not happen by accident," he said.

"NATO is stronger, smarter and more energised than when you began. And a billion people across Europe or 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," the president said.

In his remarks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there are no cost-free options with an aggressive Russia as a neighbour.

"There are no risk-free options in a war. And remember -- the biggest cost and the greatest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine. We cannot let that happen. Not only would it embolden President Putin, it would also embolden other authoritarian leaders in Iran, North Korea and China," he said.

He acknowledged that NATO's enduring success has never been a given, but is rather "the result of deliberate choices and difficult decisions" -- from the alliance's creation to arms control negotiations, and from NATO's enlargement at the end of the Cold War to its support to Ukraine today.

"The time to stand for freedom and democracy is now, the place is Ukraine," he said.

Stoltenberg concluded by saying that the alliance will continue to face difficult questions in the future, but that "we are stronger and safer together in NATO".

Biden presented Stoltenberg with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honour, in recognition of his decade of service at the helm of the alliance.

PTI
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