British PM sees signs Ukraine will prevail

    Madrid, Jun 30 (AP) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the withdrawal of Russian troops from Snake Island in the Black Sea is a sign that Ukraine will prevail in the war.
     Johnson said the pullout from the island where occupying Russian troops have faced relentless Ukrainian attacks shows that “again Russia has had to cede ground.” He said that “in the end it will prove impossible for Putin to hold down a country that will not accept” occupation.
     Johnson spoke at the end of a NATO summit in Madrid dominated by the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
     He said Russia must be driven off from all the territory it has occupied since it invaded in February and that at the moment “there doesn't seem to be anything to talk about” regarding a cease-fire.
     Johnson welcomed a commitment by many NATO members to increase defense spending and said the U.K. would raise its spending target from 2% of GDP to 2.5% by the end of the decade.
     NATO's leader has closed a summit of the Western military alliance with a message to Moscow that the allies are prepared to “protect every inch of NATO territory” and fully back Ukraine in its battle against Russian forces.
     Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that NATO has “made sure that there is no misunderstanding in the minds of any adversary, that if they do anything like what Russia has done to Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine now, that will trigger the full response of the whole alliance.”
     Stoltenberg said the three-day summit in Madrid featured several “transformative” decisions.
     Besides pledging more aid by NATO members for Kyiv, the allies agreed to boost their rapid response forces in Eastern Europe from 40,000 to 300,000, invited Sweden and Finland to join as new members, and approved a new list of top security priorities for the next decade, among other decisions.
     “We face the most serious security situation in decades, but we are rising to the challenge with unity and resolve,” Stoltenberg said.

     Sweden plans to send additional military support to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, support weapons and demining equipment that it says Kyiv had requested.
     The hardware is worth approximately 500 million kronor ($49 million).
     “It is important that the support to Ukraine from the democratic countries in Europe is continuous and long-term,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said, according to the Swedish news agency TT.
     He didn't say when and how the equipment would be delivered but said, “It is in everyone's interest that it is delivered as quickly as possible.”
     Sweden was invited at a NATO summit this week to join the Western military alliance.
     Italian Premier Mario Draghi is skipping the last day of the NATO summit in Madrid amid simmering tensions in his coalition government.
     Draghi's office said the premier will attend a Cabinet meeting in the Italian capital on Thursday. Measures to bring relief for high consumer energy bills and government spending top the Cabinet's agenda.
     Draghi's abrupt departure came amid tension in his wide-ranging unity coalition, assembled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     His predecessor, populist 5-Star Movement leader Giuseppe Conte, has been seething over issues including Draghi's staunch support for more military aid for Ukraine.
     The 5-Stars are themselves in turmoil after Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio broke with the Movement last week, forming his own pro-Draghi political group, with an eye to national elections next year.
     Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini is standing in for Draghi in Madrid. (AP) VM

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)