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In fiery speech, Biden tells NATO allies Ukraine will stop Putin

Joe Biden vigorously defended his foreign policy achievements at a NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday (9), which is being closely watched by allies both inside and outside the United States for evidence that the embattled US president can still lead.

Biden, 81, has faced days of tough questions about his fitness for office, as some of his fellow Democrats in Congress and campaign donors worry he could lose the Nov. 5 election after his poor performance in the June 27 debate.

“(Vladimir) Putin wants nothing less, nothing less than the total subjugation of Ukraine … and to wipe Ukraine off the map,” Biden said, referring to the Russian president. “Ukraine can and will stop Putin.”

The White House hopes he can turn the page on speculation after his speech Tuesday, in which he spoke in a strong, confident voice and avoided any of the verbal slips or signs of confusion that have marred his participation in the debate.

Biden has rejected calls to withdraw from the race against 78-year-old Republican Donald Trump, vowing to defeat him in November. So far, he still enjoys the support of most of his party’s leaders.

The US president has made restoring traditional US alliances abroad a centrepiece of his foreign policy after Trump challenged allies with an “America First” approach. The winner in November could have a substantial impact on the future of NATO, Europe and the rest of the world.

Trump suggested that if re-elected, he would not defend NATO members if they were attacked militarily and did not meet the alliance’s defense spending target of 2 percent of each country’s GDP. He also questioned the amount of aid given to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

The main focus of the NATO summit was expected to be new commitments of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as a bridge for the war-torn country to join the 32-member alliance.

Zelensky’s struggle to achieve more

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington on Tuesday and said he would “fight” for NATO to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses and provide more F-16 fighter jets, requests Washington appears willing to grant.

“We are fighting for additional security guarantees for Ukraine – weapons, finances, political support,” he said in a video on social media.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said NATO would announce a new military command in Germany to train and equip Ukrainian troops and appoint a senior representative in Kiev to strengthen ties. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the summit would “further strengthen” Ukraine’s path to alliance membership.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told defense industry representatives in Washington that NATO leaders will commit to allowing arms manufacturers across Europe and North America to increase their production.

He also mentioned that the alliance has placed an order for Stinger anti-aircraft missiles worth nearly $700 million on behalf of several member states.

The shoulder-fired, portable Stinger missiles have been in high demand in Ukraine, which has successfully deterred Russian air strikes, and in neighboring European countries that fear they will also need to repel Russian forces.

Zelensky is scheduled to meet Biden at the White House on Thursday (11) and is expected to deliver a speech Tuesday night at the NATO summit.

After rejecting calls from some fellow Democrats for Biden to resign, the White House is hoping the focus will return to his ability to govern normally.

Aides to the American leader said his opening speech at the NATO summit would highlight what his administration sees as a key achievement: a stronger, more united NATO, under Washington’s leadership, with more members and the determination to meet collective security needs.

They argue that this brings tangible results for American voters: a safer country with a robust international economic position, more alliances and power abroad, and less risk of conflict with its adversaries.

Trump and many Republican allies reject such arguments.

Will Biden remain in power?

NATO, celebrating its 75th anniversary, has found new purpose in opposing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the ongoing war will dominate private conversations between the countries’ leaders.

Those leaders, already anxious about the prospect of Trump’s return, arrived in Washington with renewed concerns about Biden’s staying power, diplomats from their countries said. One described Biden as “wounded” after a difficult political period and said his administration was looking for signs that he could survive politically.

Biden will hold a rare solo news conference on Thursday, also aimed at calming concerns.

Source: CNN Brasil

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