NATO summit live: Ukraine, China top agenda as Biden hosts leaders in DC

  • Leaders of NATO’s 32 member countries are meeting in the United States as the military alliance marks its 75th anniversary.
  • US President Joe Biden says NATO is “stronger than it’s ever been”, pledges support for Ukraine in its defence against Russia’s invasion.

    What did Biden announce in his NATO summit speech?

    The first day of the summit saw Biden give a forceful speech in which he announced major steps to beef up Ukraine’s overwhelmed air defences.

    He said the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy would provide Ukraine with the equipment for five additional strategic air defence systems, including four additional Patriot batteries and a SAMP/T defence system.

    “Today, NATO is more powerful than ever,” the US presidenty said. “It’s good that we’re stronger than ever because this moment in history calls for our collective strength”.

    “Autocrats want to overturn the global order” and “terrorist groups” continue to plot “evil schemes”, Biden alleged.

    “But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin,” he said, “especially with our full, collective support. And they have our full support.”

    Russia says following summit closely

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said Russia will follow “with the greatest attention” the summit in Washington, DC, including “the rhetoric at the talks and the decisions that will be taken and put on paper”.

    Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov said NATO “is an alliance that considers Russia an enemy, an opponent”.

    NATO “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”, he alleged.

    NATO members have been providing Ukraine with weapons and military training, but have so far ruled out sending troops to avoid a direct conflict with Russia.

    Last summit for NATO chief Stoltenberg

    The summit in Washington, DC, is Jens Stoltenberg’s last as NATO’s secretary-general.

    The former prime minister of Norway and UN special envoy on climate change has been leading the organisation since October 2014.

    Stoltenberg will be replaced on October 1 by Mark Rutte, a former prime minister of the Netherlands.

    What happened on day one of the summit?

    The three-day NATO summit which began on Tuesday has put the focus squarely on reassuring Ukraine of NATO’s enduring support as Russia presses its advantage on the battlefield.

    On day one, Biden announced dozens of new air defence systems for Ukraine. “This moment in history calls for our collective strength,” he said in a speech, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of seeking to wipe “Ukraine off the map”.

    He also sought to reassure European leaders bracing for the US election in November, amid growing concern over the return of former President Donald Trump, who has long questioned US involvement in the military alliance.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech arguing that decisive action must be taken before the US presidential vote to repel Russia’s offensive against his country.

    Ukraine ultimately wants to join NATO to ward against future attacks by Russia, but the alliance has previously said it would not admit a new member until the conflict with Russia is resolved.

    Fast facts: NATO

    • NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was created in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union amid Cold War tensions.
    • Its 12 founding members are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • The military alliance has since expanded to include 32 members, with Finland and Sweden being the two most recent additions.
    • Its collective security guarantee – Article 5 of NATO’s founding North Atlantic treaty – puts its members under a political commitment to come to the aid of any other member whose sovereignty or territory might be under attack.
    • NATO takes decisions by consensus, with every member having a veto. However, the political and military strength of the US means that it is by far the most powerful country in the alliance.

      Welcome to our live coverage

      Hello and thank you for joining our live coverage of NATO’s summit in the US.

      Leaders of the military alliance’s member states and partner countries have gathered in Washington, DC, to mark 75 years since NATO was founded and discuss a wide array of issues, including ramping up support for Ukraine.

      Stay with the Al Jazeera Live team as we bring you all the latest news, analysis and reactions throughout the day.

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