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Nato summit live: F-16s ‘bring just and lasting peace closer,’ Zelenskiy says | Nato

‘F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer,’ Zelenskiy says

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, said he is grateful to countries taking steps to help Ukraine’s air force get F-16s.

“I am grateful to the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands for taking practical steps to achieve the goal of all Ukrainians: to strengthen the Ukrainian air force with F-16s,” he said.

He added:

I anticipate that our air force capability coalition will be strengthened even further through the joining of new participants. F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer, demonstrating that terror must fail everywhere and at any time.

Our team continues to work in Washington to reach agreements that are strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

I am grateful to the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands for taking practical steps to achieve the goal of all Ukrainians: to strengthen the Ukrainian air force with F-16s.

I am grateful to Belgium and Norway for their commitment to providing us with their F-16 jets.…

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 10, 2024

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Key events

Stoltenberg: Ukraine support ‘not charity’ but in Nato security interest

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, says that leaders meeting at the summit will “make decisions for our future security”.

Nato countries will also increase support for Ukraine “by establishing a Nato coordination and security assistance and training for Ukraine” as well as “ensuring sustained support for the long term”. Stoltenberg goes on to say:

Support to Ukraine is not charity. It is in our own security interest.

He says Nato will also reinforce partnerships in the Indo Pacific “to push against the growing alignment of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea”.

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Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg thanks the US president, Joe Biden, personally for hosting the summit, and says there is “no better place” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the alliance than in Washington DC, where the North Atlantic Treaty was signed back in 1949.

Stoltenberg also thanks Biden for his “personal leadership and strong commitment” over the many years to Nato which has “all made us stronger”.

The Nato chief welcomes the Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, “to the family” (Sweden became a full Nato member in March of this year).

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Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, is now welcoming alliance leaders, who have gathered in Washington.

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Nato leaders are taking their seats at a round table.

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“Air defence is crucial for Ukraine in this very moment. We need to find as many partners to support our initiative in this field,” Germany’s Olaf Scholz said.

Air defence is crucial for Ukraine in this very moment. We need to find as many partners to support our initiative in this field.

Germany stands by Ukraine – for as long as it takes. https://t.co/CbKCVUJsHZ

— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) July 10, 2024

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Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with Germany’s Olaf Scholz.

“The additional Patriot systems, the battlefield situation, and the implementation of the Peace Summit results were the main topics of our meeting,” Zelenskiy said.

The additional Patriot systems, the battlefield situation, and the implementation of the Peace Summit results were the main topics of our meeting with @Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz.

I informed Chancellor Scholz about the situation on the frontline, particularly in the Kharkiv… pic.twitter.com/pBeOanVCzn

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 10, 2024

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Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister who is expected to be the next EU high representative for foreign affairs, has listed her priorities for the summit.

My message ahead of #NATOSummit:

1. Step up support to Ukraine’s path to victory and NATO membership.

2. Keep the Russian threat at the centre of NATO’s priorities.

3. Prioritise NATO’s defence and deterrence.

4. Boost our defence spending.

5. Deepen global partnerships. pic.twitter.com/OCIExfbRLd

— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) July 10, 2024

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Nato allies have only delivered half the aid they promised Ukraine, Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, said today, Reuters reported.

“Regarding the aid that all of us are giving Ukraine, I think the time has come to be realistic, we have delivered about half of what we promised,” Iohannis told reporters.

“And that is not enough. If we want Ukraine to win we must help more.”

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No change in UK’s support for Ukraine with new government, says Starmer

Keir Starmer, the British prime minister, has said the Nato summit would send a message to Vladimir Putin about the alliance’s resolve to support Kyiv, PA Media reported.

I’ve just had a very good meeting with President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy, where I made it absolutely clear that as far as the UK is concerned, the change of government makes no difference to the support that we will provide.

We’d been united on this when we were in opposition, and it was really important to me to be able to affirm that face-to face at the meeting.

He also said the summit was a chance “to discuss with president Zelenskiy what further support he needs and to use our opportunity here with our allies to make sure that that support is agreed.”

“And to reinforce, in a sense as a message to Putin, the resolve of Nato, bigger now than it’s ever been, more united than it’s ever been and absolutely clear eyed about the threat of Russian aggression,” he added.

Keir Starmer meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy at Nato summit in Washington – video

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Dick Schoof, the new Dutch prime minister, said he “assured” Ukraine’s president “once again of the Netherlands’ continued support for Ukraine: whatever is needed, for as long as it’s needed.”

“For instance, the Netherlands is working with the US, Germany, Italy and Romania to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence, and the Ministry of Defence has just announced that in the coming years more funds will be set aside for F-16 ammunition,” he added.

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“Today we reaffirm our ironclad commitment to a strong EU-NATO partnership anchored in our shared values,” said the outgoing European Council president, Charles Michel.

In Washington D.C. for a historic @NATO summit.

On its 75th anniversary, NATO remains the longest-standing and most powerful military alliance in the world.

Today we reaffirm our ironclad commitment to a strong EU-NATO partnership anchored in our shared values.
#NATOSummitpic.twitter.com/opqWzjE0cp

— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) July 10, 2024

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Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

The first F-16 fighter jets are on their way to Ukraine and will be flying sorties this summer, according to a statement from the Dutch and Danish governments that was released by the White House at the Nato summit.

Dick Schoof, the prime minister of the Netherlands, and Mette Frederiksen, his counterpart from Denmark, said the “transfer process” of F-16s to Kyiv was under way after months of pilot training and political negotiations.

The two leaders said that “Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer” – the first of about 85 of the combat aircraft that have been committed to Kyiv to turn around its fortunes on the battlefield.

An announcement on F-16s had been expected at the same time as the summit, and the hope is that the fighters will be able to stifle Russian glide bomb attacks launched from warplanes operating up to 43 miles (70km) away that have been devastating frontline positions.

Read the story here.

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Speaking at the Nato public forum, the alliance’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg spoke of past delays to support for Ukraine but that “now we are providing more support and I’m confident that allies will now actually deliver.”

The purpose of a stronger Nato role in providing training and security assistance, he added, is “to minimise the risks for future delays and gaps.”

But, he said, “you don’t have guarantees, because at the end of the day it has to be support in all the individual allied capitals and parliaments.”

The purpose of creating a stronger Nato framework, he said, is making support more robust and predictable.

Stoltenberg also pushed back against the perception that the US is nearly alone in its support for Kyiv, emphasing the role of Europe and Canada.

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Kiran Stacey

UK’s Labour will not boost military spend without economic growth, says minister

The Labour government will not increase spending on the military unless it is also able to grow the economy, the armed forces minister has said, as Keir Starmer comes under pressure to say when Britain’s defence spending will hit 2.5% of GDP.

Luke Pollard said on Wednesday the government wanted to hit the target promised by the former prime minister Rishi Sunak, but would not be able to do so without economic growth.

His comments come as the prime minister begins a two-day visit to Washington DC for the 75th-anniversary Nato summit, at which he will urge other member countries to increase their defence spending.

Pollard told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The way we deliver increased public spending on defence, on schools, hospitals or prisons, is by growing our economy. If we don’t grow our economy, there won’t be the money to support those public services and the ambitions that we have – and that includes defence.”

Read the full story here.

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