Let’s not kid ourselves: Russia is failing in this war, says Joe Biden

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US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a historic donation of air defense equipment to Ukraine and said Russia is failing in this war.

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

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In the coming months, the United States and its partners intend to provide Ukraine with dozens of additional tactical air defense systems, he said, adding that the United States will ensure that when “we export critical air defense interceptors, Ukraine is at the front of the line.”

“They will get this help before anyone else. In total, Ukraine will receive hundreds of additional interceptors over the next year, helping protect Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles and Ukrainian troops facing airstrikes on their front lines,” Biden said.

“Let us not kid ourselves, Russia is failing in this war. More than two years after (Russian President Vladimir) Putin launched the war of his choice, its losses are staggering. More than 350,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded, almost a million (10 lakh) Russians, many of them young, have left Russia because they no longer see a future in Russia,” he said.

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“kyiv, remember, ladies and gentlemen? It was supposed to fall in five days. Remember? Well, two and a half years later it still stands and will continue to stand. All the allies knew that before this war, Putin thought NATO would fall apart. Today, NATO is stronger than it has ever been in its history. When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it remains a free country,” the US president said.

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

“We know Putin won’t stop Ukraine, but make no mistake: Ukraine can and will stop Putin,” Biden said.

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

“NATO is stronger, smarter and more energetic than when it began. And a billion people across Europe or North America, indeed around the world, will reap the fruits of its labor for years to come in security, opportunity and greater freedom,” the president said.

In his comments, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there are no free rides with an aggressive Russia as a neighbor.

“There are no risk-free options in war. And remember: the biggest cost and the biggest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine. We cannot allow that to happen. It would embolden not only President Putin, but also other authoritarian leaders in Iran, North Korea and China,” he said.

He acknowledged that NATO’s lasting 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 for Ukraine today.

“The time to defend freedom and democracy is now, and the place is Ukraine,” he said.

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

Biden awarded Stoltenberg the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of her decade of service leading the alliance.