NATO summit: Biden pledges extra air protection for Ukraine

The NATO 2024 summit is hosted by Washington DC, coinciding with the military alliance’s 75 anniversary.

The 3-day meeting will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as countering growing Chinese influence on the world stage. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington on Tuesday. He is due to speak at the summit later.

Outgoing Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is addressing the alliance members on Tuesday. This will be his final summit, with former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte taking over the reins in October.

The leaders of non-member states New Zealand, Japan and South Korea will attend the summit for the third year in a row amid increasing Chinese military presence in the Pacific.

Ahead of the meeting, Stoltenberg announced a $43 billion (€39.7 billion) aid package to Ukraine, a reduction from previous packages that is expected to decrease further the following year.

However, the NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine (NSATU) program, which was approved in June, is set to cement assistance for Kyiv in the future in the case of a Trump presidency

Trump has suggested that he will be less generous to Ukraine than Biden if elected in November.

Biden, who is also due to speak on Tuesday, was expected to use the NATO summit in Washington to press his case after a television debate against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in June left voters questioning if age was taking its toll on the president.

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sdi,wd,es,rmt/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)