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Austin calls for more aid to Kyiv as 18th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting begins

23 January, 2024 Tuesday
17:48

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called on the participants of the 18th Ukraine Defense Contact Group  meeting to provide even more assistance to Ukraine

Austin said this at the opening of the online meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

"Let's be honest: our support for Ukraine in its fight against tyranny will make all our countries safer. If we lose our temper, if we flinch, if we fail in deterrence, others will become aggressors. We will only cause more bloodshed and more chaos. A sovereign and secure Ukraine is therefore crucial to global security. We must not waver in our support for Ukraine," Austin said.

The Pentagon chief also urged the group to "dig deeper" to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems. According to him, the battle waged by Ukraine is "important for all our countries".

"The Russian army continues to suffer significant casualties again, and Ukraine has regained more than half of the sovereign territory seized by Russia since its unprovoked invasion," he said.

At the same time, Austin stated that there was no evidence of "misuse or illegal diversion of US equipment provided to Ukraine".

The US Secretary of Defense also reminded the Ukraine Defense Contact Group participants of the recent $250 million US aid package, which included 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition and medical equipment.

What is known about the Ukraine Defense Contact Group

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as the Ramstein group, is a series of diplomatic meetings of defense ministers from dozens of countries to synchronize and accelerate the provision of weapons to Ukraine to counter a full-scale Russian invasion and discuss support for Ukraine after the war. The group includes representatives from over 50 countries.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war on Ukraine, 17 meetings have already taken place. The first meeting was held in April 2022 at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

The previous meeting of Ukraine Defense Contact Group took place on November 22, 2023 in online format. 

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