U.S. President Joe Biden said he and other NATO leaders showed the world at their summit this week that the military alliance is “more united than ever" after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The allies “understand that this fight is not only a fight for the future of Ukraine,” Biden said in Helsinki as he closed out a five-day trip to Europe. Ukraine’s fight is also about sovereignty, security, and freedom throughout Eastern Europe and the world, he said on July 13.
At a news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Biden reiterated that the United States' commitment to NATO would not waver.
“I absolutely guarantee it. There’s no question,” Biden said, adding that there’s overwhelming support from the American people and lawmakers in Congress.
Earlier on July 13, Biden and Niinisto met with the leaders of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. A White House statement said the leaders “reconfirmed the strong U.S.-Nordic partnership and the intensifying cooperation between their countries, focusing on security, the environment, technology, and society.”
Sweden is poised to be admitted as NATO’s 32nd member after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of the summit agreed to forward its application to Turkey's parliament for approval. Sweden also pledged more cooperation with Turkey on counterterrorism efforts.
Both Sweden and Finland, which became NATO’s 31st member in April, abandoned a history of military nonalignment and sought to join the NATO alliance after Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
Biden's brief stop in the Finnish capital followed what he deemed a successful NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where allies agreed to language that would further pave the way for Ukraine to also become a member.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the summit's outcome “a significant security victory" for his country and said it "removed any doubts and ambiguities about whether Ukraine will be in NATO.” But he expressed disappointment at not getting an outright invitation to join.
Biden told reporters on the flight to Helsinki that his trip “accomplished every goal we set out to accomplish” and said that despite Zelenskiy's frustrations the Ukrainian president “ended up being very happy.”
He told reporters in Helsinki that Ukraine will join NATO one day.
"It's not about whether or not they should or shouldn't join. It's about when they can join, and they will join NATO," Biden said.
President Vladimir Putin reacted on July 13 to the outcomes of the summit, saying Ukraine joining NATO would threaten Russia's own security and create further tensions on the world stage.
Speaking on Russian television, he also said supplies of new weapons to Ukraine would change nothing on the battlefield but would only further escalate the conflict. Tanks provided by Western powers will be a "priority target" for Russian forces, he added.
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