NATO to announce ‘historic’ Ukraine aid package as Russia strikes children’s hospital in Kyiv

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NATO leaders will meet in Washington DC this week to announce the details of an aid package that will include  air defense systems to protect Ukrainian cities from Russian attacks.

The summit comes after a missile strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv, one of the worst attacks against Ukraine in recent months.

The package put together by NATO  allies has been described as “historic” and is seen as an attempt to guarantee future aid to Ukraine where civilian sites and infrastructure  have come under renewed Russian bombardment.

The resumption of large-scale missile strikes against targets in the Ukrainian capital will increase the sense of urgency among the 32 leaders. Images in the aftermath of the Monday strike showed children at a cancer hospital covered in blood and dust.

A Biden administration official  described the attack as “horrific, tragic, senseless” as fears mounted for youngsters trapped under the rubble..

“This is a fully deliberate action, specifically designed and approved by … Putin. On the eve of the @Nato summit. As a slap in the face to the alliance,” wrote Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential administration.

He called it an “informal signal” that “even the outright murder of children will not make them [the Alliance] take all the necessary decisions. And that is why we continue to attack.”

NATO members are  expected to pledge of at least four additional Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine during the summit. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had previously asked the alliance for seven batteries, saying Russian leader Vladimir Putin “must be brought down to earth, and our sky must become safe again … And it depends fully on your choice … [the] choice whether we are indeed allies.”

The four Patriot missile systems will likely be delivered by the US, Germany, Romania and a Dutch-led multinational effort.  Another system could be provided by Israel, which now employs the Iron Dome and other air defense systems to protect against rocket and missile attacks.

NATO members are expected to pledge at least 40 billion euros on aid to Ukraine.

“Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Allies have provided 40 billion euros in military support to Ukraine each year,” said Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary general last month.

“We must maintain this level of support as a minimum, and for as long as it takes.”

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