US Defence Secretary hosts strategy meeting to plan further military aid for Ukraine

 Please allow me now to introduce Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to deliver opening remarks well good morning everyone thanks for joining us for the 15th meeting of the Ukraine defense conflict group and it's great to see both new and familiar faces here today and I want to start with a word of thanks to Alexi reznikov for his hard work and dedication and for everything that he did for a free Ukraine in a secure world I'd like to

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin hosts an in-person Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

welcome Ukraine's new defense minister roostum umarov and rustam it's uh it's it's great to have you here I thoroughly enjoyed our call a couple of days ago and certainly enjoyed our meeting that we just concluded um I look forward to working with you and your team closely and I know that everyone else here does as well now even as we're meeting here Ukraine


Ukrainian troops are in a hard fight to reclaim their Sovereign territory from dug in Russian Invaders Ukraine's counter-offensive continues to make steady forward progress and brave Ukrainian troops are breaking through the heavily fortified lines of Russia's Army of aggression Ukraine's progress is a testament to the fighting Spirit of its people but Ukraine's recent gains also hinge on the crucial capabilities provided by the members of this contact group in our shared commitment will be vital during the current battles and for the long road ahead in total the United States and Ukraine's Global Partners have committed more than 76 billion dollars in Direct Security assistance to Ukraine's


defense now these donations demonstrate the profound resolve of some 50 countries gathered here together we're getting Ukraine what it needs when it needs it together we're rushing Ukraine the security assistance that it needs for the current counter-offensive and helping it to build a force that will ward off future aggression and together we continue to demonstrate our iron sense of purpose ladies and gentlemen history will show the full Folly of Putin's Putin's Reckless cruel and unprovoked invasion of his peaceful neighbor in this war time is not on Putin's side time is never on the side of a dictator who launches an Imperial War of choice and time is never on the side of aggression the people of Ukraine are fighting in self-defense for a just cause they're fighting to save their


Futures and secure their freedom and they have the guts and the persistence to Outlast the Kremlin throughout this tragic War Putin has tried to demoralize the Ukrainian people instead he has demoralized the Russian military and the Kremlin has isolated Itself by its flagrant aggression just look at the 50 countries proudly represented around this table standing together to defend Ukraine in the rules-based international order and then look at the Kremlin left alone with the likes of Iran and North Korea meanwhile the United States and our allies and partners have proven our staying power over and over again so make no mistake we will stand by the Ukrainian people for the Long Haul since our last meeting the United States has committed additional security assistance packages totaling more than two billion dollars those packages include urgently needed air defense ammunition and mine clearing equipment and we're ensuring accountability of U.S contributions through robust in-use monitoring


and we'll continue to work closely with our Ukrainian Partners to ensure that all assistance is used effectively and safeguarded I'm also pleased to announce that the M1 Abrams tanks that the United States had previously committed to will be entering Ukraine soon now the more Russia prolongs its War the more glaring its cruelty becomes Russia's assault have increased far beyond the battlefield an inflicted Untold human suffering in recent months Russia has continued to Target Ukraine's ports and its grain infrastructure but he's attacked so far have destroyed at least 280 000 tons of grain and that's enough to feed as many as 10.5 million people for a year and Russia's attacks continue to threaten Global Food security and to risk needless humanitarian crises around the planet so this contact group has stepped up with donations of patriot Irish tea Hawk naysams and sampte and other air defense systems and those defensive systems will continue to protect


Ukraine's critical infrastructure including grain and energy supplies I've said it before and I'll say it again air defense is saving lives so I urge this group to continue to dig deep on ground-based air defense for Ukraine and we must continue to push hard to provide Ukraine with the air defense systems and interceptors that it needs and right now In the Heat of battle we must also keep pushing to get Ukraine the ammunition that it needs to keep up the fight including one five five millimeter ammunition and we're looking further ahead to ensure that Ukraine can deter future aggression and defend its Sovereign territory so let me say just a word about the contact group's long-term capability coalitions these formations further fortify Ukraine's ability to outlast Russian aggression I'm grateful to many friends here today including Denmark Estonia Germany Luxembourg the Netherlands and Poland for stepping up to lead coalitions these coalitions are tackling specific capabilities such as leopard tanks F-16 training and information technology and we'll hear updates on their work later today and to add to this group's long-term support for Ukraine I'm proud to announce that the United States is supplementing the F-16 training Coalition with U.S


Based training all this underscore is a key topic for today's meeting the future of Ukraine's Armed Forces and how this Coalition will evolve to help Ukraine build a credible capable combat Force for the long term our commitment to Ukraine isn't just for the duration of one campaign it's a commitment to long-term Security in Europe and Beyond and it's a commitment to our shared values of freedom and sovereignty this contact group has done so much for the people of Ukraine and it must continue to evolve to sustain our Support over the Long Haul so we will stay United we will stay resolute and we will stay firm in our determination to defend Ukraine and to uphold the world where aggression does not pay and thank you for being here and so now we'll pause just a moment to let our friends in the media depart

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