Biden labels Putin ‘craven’ as Nato summit ends; G7 signs declaration outlining support for Ukraine
US president Joe Biden concluded a Nato summit on Wednesday denouncing Russian president Vladimir Putin as “craven” and promising Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy full support even without membership in the military alliance. Biden, who has made unifying Nato countries a foreign policy priority, said Putin had badly underestimated their resolve.
“This is very important. For the first time since our independence, we have established a foundation of security for Ukraine on its path to Nato,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “These are concrete security guarantees confirmed by the world’s top seven democracies. Never before have we had such a security base and it is at the level of the G7.” Zelenskiy reaffirmed statements he made at the summit in Lithuania that “we have removed any doubts or ambiguity about whether Ukraine will be in Nato. It will be.”
Ben Wallace, the British defence secretary said “people want to see a bit of gratitude” and Ukraine needed to put more emphasis on saying thank you for western help when he was asked about president Zelenskiy’s complaints on Tuesday that the country had not been issued a firm timetable or set of conditions for joining Nato. Wallace said Ukrainians’ haste to get all the help they could meant they did not always say they were grateful for the help received.
UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, distanced himself from Wallace’s comments, saying Zelenskiy has expressed gratitude for UK support. He highlighted that president Zelenskiy had expressed gratitude on multiple occasions, including his address to parliament earlier this year. “I know he and his people are grateful to the UK,” said Sunak.
Zelenskiy said he “didn’t understand” Wallace’s comments. He also said “we could express our words of gratitude personally to the minister”.
The G7 signed a declaration outlining support for Ukraine and help towards governance reforms needed for ‘Euro-Atlantic aspirations’. The member nations said they would provide security and economic support, including modern military equipment, across land, air, and sea, intelligence sharing and the training of Ukrainian forces in exchange for Ukraine committing to reforms “to underscore its commitments to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and media freedoms”, “put its economy on a sustainable path” and strengthen “democratic civilian control of the military”.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden’s Nato accession will not be put to Turkish parliament until autumn when it reopens. Speaking at a news conference after the Nato summit in Vilnius, Erdogan said that Sweden would provide a roadmap for Turkey regarding the steps to take against purported terrorism before the ratification.
UN secretary-general António Guterres has proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he extend a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of grain from Ukraine in return for connecting a subsidiary of Russia’s agricultural bank to the SWIFT international payment system, sources told Reuters. The last two ships traveling under the Black Sea agreement are currently loading cargoes at the Ukrainian port of Odesa ahead of the deadline.
An 81-year-old man was killed after shelling in Kherson. His 82-year-old wife was wounded in shelling of the southern city of Kherson, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said on Telegram on Wednesday.