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NATO summit: Biden says U.S. will support Ukraine against Russia 'for as long as it takes'

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"We're going to stick with Ukraine, and all of this alliance will stick with Ukraine for as long as it takes to make sure Ukraine is not defeated," President Biden told reporters Thursday in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e08a00646a0c9c5c19e3d3b225889d11/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
"We're going to stick with Ukraine, and all of this alliance will stick with Ukraine for as long as it takes to make sure Ukraine is not defeated," President Biden told reporters Thursday in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

June 30 (UPI) -- Concluding the two-day NATO summit in Spain on Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters that the "historic" security meetings primarily focused on the war in Ukraine, and significant progress was made for the future of the World War II-era defensive alliance.

Biden arrived in Madrid on Tuesday and participated in the summit with other NATO leaders on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was largely centered on Russia's aggression in Eastern Europe and the coalition's designs for the next decade.

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"I think we can all agree that this has been a historic NATO Summit," he said at his customary end-of-summit news conference.

"We've reaffirmed that our Article 5 commitment is sacred and an attack on one is an attack on all, and we will defend every inch of NATO territory."

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At the start of the summit, Biden pledged a greater U.S. military presence in Europe and more defensive activities to support NATO positions in countries like Poland and Romania. On Wednesday, Biden said the plans for the future include a new NATO hub in Poland.

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The United States has provided billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine since the fighting began on Feb. 24. NATO members have also agreed to boost defense spending and military capabilities across the board.

"We're going to stick with Ukraine, and all of this alliance will stick with Ukraine for as long as it takes to make sure Ukraine is not defeated," Biden added.

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The U.S. president used the occasion to deliver another message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he's been extremely critical over the past four months, and praised the additions of Sweden and Finland. Putin has previously warned both nations against joining the alliance.

"He tried to weaken us, but he's getting exactly what he did not want," Biden said of the Kremlin leader. " He wanted the Finlandization of NATO. He got the NATO-ization of Finland."

Both countries received a formal invitation to join during the session on Wednesday. The path became clear after Turkey dropped its opposition to the Scandinavian additions, which was based on the Kurdish populations in both countries.

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Biden also condemned Putin for disrupting the global energy market with the war in Ukraine. With less Russian oil on the market and disruptions worldwide, gas prices in the United States have soared over the past few months to record levels. On Thursday, Biden said that Western allies are working to cap prices for Russian oil.

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"Bottom line is, the reason why gas prices are up is because of Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia," Biden added, also noting increases in food prices around the world.

"I can understand why the American people are frustrated, but inflation is higher in nearly every other country."

Also at the summit on Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged an additional $1.2 billion in British aid to Ukraine.

In Ukraine on Thursday, Moscow intensified missile attacks in Lysychansk to wear down Ukrainian forces. The city, located in eastern Ukraine about 125 miles southeast of Kharkiv, has been under heavy Russian attack for days.

Moscow has maintained the assault in Lysychansk after Ukrainian troops retreated from the eastern city of Severodonetsk following weeks of fighting.

"Fighting is going on all the time," Luhansk regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai said according to The Guardian. "The Russians are constantly on the offensive. There is no let-up. Absolutely everything is being shelled."

Capturing the area is considered critical for Russia to tear the eastern Donbas region away from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian officials said Thursday that troops have left Snake Island in a "goodwill" gesture. The island has seen an aggressive Ukrainian counteroffensive recently after the territory fell to Russian forces in the early days of the war.

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"During the night, as a result of a successful military operation with our missile and artillery units on Snake Island, the enemy hastily evacuated the remnants of the garrison in two speedboats and probably left the island," Ukrainian military officials said according to The Guardian.

"Currently, [it] is covered with fire, and explosions are heard."

Emergency officials said on Thursday the death toll in the Russian bombing of a five-story apartment complex in southern Mykolaiv has risen to six. Moscow hit the city with eight missiles on Wednesday. One hit the apartment building.

Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synyehubov said that new Russian attacks in the area resulted in at least one death and several injuries. Ukrainian troops last month repelled a Russian advance in Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, but now are under renewed attacks.

Putin said on Thursday that he's open to dialogue on strategic stability in the region. He made the remarks at a legal event in St. Petersburg.

"Russia is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability, maintaining the non-proliferation regimes for weapons of mass destruction, and improving the situation in the field of arms control," he said according to CNN.

After speaking to reporters, Biden left Spain to return to the United States. He will leave for another trip next week to the Middle East, where he may meet with Saudi Arabia's crown prince as part of a broader event.

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Biden told reporters, however, that the Middle Eastern trip is not centered on oil production. It's part of a strategy to deepen Israel's "integration" in the region and reaffirm U.S. relations.

NATO leaders gather in Madrid

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures during a news conference on the final day of a NATO summit in Madrid on June 30, 2022. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

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