On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said in a speech that the U.S. and NATO allies reaffirm commitment to Ukraine, promising that its Western partners would not back away from its defense as Russia’s war on Ukraine past its 500th day.

Following a two-day high-level meeting with leaders at the NATO summit, Biden described support for Kyiv’s fight for democracy as “the calling of our lifetime.” The U.S. has sent more than $41 billion to bolster Kyiv in the nearly 18 months since Russian troops invaded Ukrainian borders. Biden said in his address from Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius: “We did what we always do. The U.S. stepped up, NATO stepped up and our partners in the Indo-Pacific stepped up. We will not waver … the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes.’”

The allies welcomed the arrival of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who reiterated calls to join NATO and vowed its membership would make the world’s most powerful military alliance stronger. Ukraine has sought NATO membership since 2002. It is bordered by four NATO allies: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

An announcement on the first day of the summit revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden’s bid to join the NATO alliance. Sweden and Finland began the formal process of applying to NATO last May, which requires approval from all 30 members of the alliance. In April, Finland joined the alliance. Following this summit, Sweden is set to become the group’s 32nd member.

Editorial credit: Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.com

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