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Austin opens Ramstein meeting: "More aid to Ukraine is on way"

The Pentagon chief noted that the coming weeks and months will be crucial.

Austin opens Ramstein meeting: "More aid to Ukraine is on way"
Lloyd Austin
Photo: EPA/UPG

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin stressed that the new Russian offensive in Kharkiv Region confirms the importance of the Contact Group for Ukraine's Defence, as the occupiers will try to move further and create a buffer zone along the Ukrainian border.

He said this during a meeting in the Ramstein format, Interfax-Ukraine reports.

"We are meeting at a difficult moment. Putin's invaders have launched another offensive on the territory of sovereign Ukraine. In the coming weeks, the Kremlin's troops will try to advance further and try to create a buffer zone along the Ukrainian border. This is a difficult and dangerous fight, but Ukraine's defenders are showing extraordinary courage and skill. They are using the opportunities provided by this Contact Group. Putin's new offensive on Kharkiv confirms the importance of this Contact Group," Austin said in opening the meeting.

He assured that allies will continue to provide Ukraine with the support it needs, and stressed that the United States remains "determined to do our part".

Austin noted that thanks to the funding passed in Congress, the United States will provide substantial security assistance packages to Ukraine, which will "make a difference in this fight."

"And you will see a steady stream of American aid coming to Ukraine week after week. President Biden announced an additional $400 million package earlier this month to help Ukraine defend Kharkiv and other frontline areas facing a new Russian threat. We have already provided Ukraine with many of its most urgent needs, and more assistance is on the way," the Pentagon chief said.

He also stressed that the members of the Contact Group continue to take action to meet Ukraine's most urgent needs.

"Together, they have provided more than $95 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Putin's full-scale invasion in February 2022," Austin said.

He also noted that air defence issues will be high on today's agenda, and he will "urge all of our valued allies and partners to reassess their ability to provide Ukraine with the air defence capabilities it so desperately needs".

In addition, the Pentagon chief added that he expects to hear from the Maritime, Air and Missile Defence Coalition today.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the coming weeks and months will be critical. That is why we will continue to act decisively. Ukraine's survival and success are central to Ukraine's security, European security, international security, and American security," the minister said.

  • The 22nd meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine's Defence in the Ramstein format has started today. The meeting is taking place online.
  • The previous, 21st meeting of the Ramstein format took place on 26 April, also in a virtual format. The meeting took place a few days after the approval of a large support package from the United States worth more than $60 billion, which Ukraine had been waiting for for the past six months.
  • The 20th meeting was held on 19 March in Germany. It was chaired by the Pentagon chief himself. It was Austin's first international trip since his hospitalisation. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Quinton Brown Jr, attended Ramstein 20 along with Austin. In total, defence ministers and senior military officials from about 50 countries were invited to the meeting. The main topic of the meeting was ammunition for Ukraine.
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