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Austin highlights unity of U.S.-led Ukrainian defense coalition amid Russian offensive > U.S. Department of Defense > Department of Defense News

Austin highlights unity of U.S.-led Ukrainian defense coalition amid Russian offensive > U.S. Department of Defense > Department of Defense News

 


The U.S.-led coalition supporting Ukraine will not waver in the face of Russia's recently launched offensive, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said today.

Ukraine's Defense Contact Group of nearly 50 countries, which met virtually today during what Austin called a “difficult moment for Ukraine,” remains focused on arming Ukraine with critical capabilities as Russian President Vladimir Putin attempts to gain new ground in Ukraine. in the northeast near Kharkiv.

Ukrainian defense leaders briefed the coalition at the meeting on defensive operations on the front lines.

Ukrainian forces are waging a “tough fight,” Mr. Austin said, against Russian invaders who are “wiping out Ukrainian villages, killing innocent civilians and bombing civilian infrastructure, including dams and power plants.”

But he added that Russian troops were also paying a heavy price for Putin's aggression.

“Ukraine is fighting for its life, which gives it the enormous strategic advantage of a just cause,” he said. “Meanwhile, Putin is trying to wage a 19th century war of imperial aggression in the world of 2024. This is a terrible idea and strategy.”

Ukraine's air defense was a central topic at today's meeting, given Russia's continued barrage of air attacks.

We will continue to press to ensure that Ukraine owns its skies – and can defend its citizens and civilian infrastructure – far from the front lines. …The United States and our allies and partners around the world remain focused on Ukraine's near-term needs in Kharkiv and elsewhere.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

Earlier this month, the United States announced a $400 million security assistance package for Ukraine, including critical munitions for air defense and artillery, to meet priority needs of Ukraine.

This latest program is in addition to $7 billion in U.S. military aid provided to Ukraine following Congress' passage of President Joe Biden's national security supplemental budget request in April.

Collectively, the UDCG countries have committed more than $95 billion in security assistance to address Ukraine's most pressing needs since Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr., who also briefed reporters at the Pentagon following the contact group meeting, said the support of the coalition is not “a simple act of solidarity”, but a “strategic act”. a necessity that strengthens international security in the broad sense. »

“If left unchecked, Russian aggression could encourage other authoritarian regimes to defy international norms and violate the sovereignty of their neighbors,” he said. “This highlights the importance of a strong, unified response.”

Austin said the United States and its allies and partners would continue to press for “quick solutions” to arm Ukraine.

In addition to discussions focused on Ukraine's short-term needs, the coalition also focused on ensuring that the country can defend itself in the long term.

The UDCG has undertaken initiatives to strengthen Ukraine's long-term defense through the formation of targeted capability coalitions.

Thirteen members of the contact group lead eight distinct capability coalitions designed to drive long-term Ukrainian force development. These coalitions focus on critical capabilities ranging from air defense to artillery.

Today's UDCG meeting included updates from the maritime and integrated air and missile defense coalitions.

Together, these capabilities “provide a strong and flexible framework to meet Ukraine’s security requirements over the long term,” Austin said.

Austin and Brown said the United States and its allies remain united in their commitment to Ukraine's enduring security.

“The outcome in Ukraine is crucial for European security, for global security and for American security,” Austin said. “None of us would want to live in a world where dictators redraw borders by force and launch wars of aggression in an attempt to revive the empires of yesterday.

“So let me be clear: Ukraine’s partners are united,” he said. “We are determined. And we're not going anywhere.”

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