NATO Summit Closes With More Warnings on China, Air Defenses to Ukraine

President Joe Biden previewed $800 million in new defense assistance to Ukraine, including “a new advanced Western air defense system,” in closing a NATO summit in Madrid that saw formal invitations offered to Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.

Also during the historic summit, mention of China was added to the new NATO Strategic Concept to better prepare allies to defend against threats to the international order.

“At this summit, we rallied our alliances to meet both the direct threats that Russia poses to Europe and the systemic challenges that China poses to a rules-based world order,” Biden said at a closing press conference June 30 before returning to Washington, D.C.

Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prompted a strengthening of the alliance and the U.S. force posture in Europe.

“The United States is doing exactly what I said we would do if Putin invaded: enhance our force posture in Europe,” the President said.

Biden said that meant increasing the number of Navy destroyers stationed in Spain from four to six; more air defenses in Italy and Germany; more F-35s in the United Kingdom; the permanent headquarters of the Army Fifth Corps in Poland; an additional brigade combat team in Romania; and more rotational deployments in the Baltic countries.

Both Russia and China figured prominently in the new NATO Strategic Concept, last updated in 2010. At that time, it referred to Russia as a “partner,” and it did not mention China.

Indo-Pacific allies, including South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, were also invited to attend the summit.

In referring to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the strategic concept said that the “Euro-Atlantic area is not at peace.”

“Russia has violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order, and poses the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” according to the document.

On China, NATO’s security assessment said China’s ambitions challenge the alliance’s interests, security, and values.

The document also warned of the growing partnership between Russia and China.

“Russia and China are developing a strategic partnership and are at the forefront of an authoritarian pushback against the rules based international order,” the document said.

New Aid to Ukraine

On Ukraine, Biden said the United States and its allies would continue to provide Ukraine with defense assistance for “as long as it takes,” even if that meant Americans would continue to pay premiums at the gas pump.

“I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine,” Biden said.

The President highlighted Ukraine’s success retaking Snake Island earlier in the day, a strategic outpost just 30 miles from Romania and NATO’s coastline in the western portion of the Black Sea.

“We are going to stick with Ukraine, and all of the Alliance is going to stick with Ukraine, as long as it takes,” Biden said.

Ukraine’s strategic victory, retaking an island taken by Russia on the first day of the invasion, may help the country loosen a naval blockade by Russia that has prevented grain exports and commercial vessels from reaching the port of Odessa.

In discussing America’s commitment to Ukraine, Biden previewed a new $800 million defense assistance package.

“In the next few days, we intend to announce more than $800 million more, including a new advanced Western air defense system for Ukraine,” Biden said without naming the system.

A Ukrainian defense official told Air Force Magazine that recent media reports indicating that the system would be the joint Norwegian/American NASAMS air defense system were correct. Raytheon and the Norwegian firm Konsberg make the system. Raytheon calls it the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System while Konsberg calls it the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to Air Missile System.

The short- to medium-range ground-based air defense system has been used to protect Washington, D.C., since 2005, according to its makers.

In recent weeks, the United States has provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to allow Ukraine to more precisely target Russian assets in the Donbas region, where Russia has seized some 20 percent of Ukrainian territory since Feb. 24.

Biden also said the package would include counter-battery radars, additional ammunition for the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system, and more HIMARS from other countries.