Biden Reiterates Commitment to Ukraine at Summit as Leadership Scrutinized

Biden Reiterates Commitment to Ukraine at Summit as Leadership Scrutinized

Hosting a NATO summit in Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden sought on Tuesday to reassure allies of his commitment to defending Ukraine against Russia's invasion and to prove his leadership. Biden, 81, has faced relentless questions about his fitness for office after a debate performance last week that some Democrats and donors said raised new doubts about whether he can win the November 5 election. "Putin wants nothing less than Ukraine's total subjugation and to wipe Ukraine off the map," Biden stated, underscoring Ukraine's resolve to stop the Russian President.

If there were any hopes that a policy speech, centre-stage at a summit, might help the President regain his footing after a bruising period, then it was soon dashed. Speaking clearly and fluently without stumbling over his words – unlike in the debate – Biden used the platform to boast about Nato's strength and unity and recognised Mr Stoltenberg's leadership in revitalising the alliance by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

That summit had been tacked onto new military and humanitarian aid commitments to Ukraine; President Biden and others announced the deliverance of additional Patriot air defense systems. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who traveled to Washington for meetings with Biden, said security guarantees for Ukraine must include weapons, finances, and political support. While Ukraine is seeking membership in the NATO alliance, unanimous consent is required from all members, which are some countries who are wary of escalating tensions with Russia.

The diplomats at the summit expressed mixed reactions to Biden's speech. Many of them question his experience in leadership for a possible second term. Trump has often hinted that he could not defend NATO members who lack the set targets on their defense spending, and he objects to the level of aid given to Ukraine.

But Biden's staying power is a concern for many European leaders, particularly with their own political uncertainties at home. The summit, marking 75 years since NATO's founding, comes just over a year into Russia's war in Ukraine and as fears grow about Moscow's ability to sustain its military campaign.

Yet, with Biden ready to hold a rare solo press conference, the summit reinforced what everyone already knew—the high stakes in the upcoming U.S. election, which could have profound consequences for NATO, Europe, and global security.

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