By DoD News
By David Vergun
The United States is grateful for France’s contribution to Ukraine’s fight to defend itself, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “We’re committed to working with you to help keep that support strong.”
Austin hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting, welcoming French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu to the Pentagon Wednesday.
“Russia has continued its war of choice against Ukraine and the Kremlin’s forces have shown deliberate cruelty, targeting Ukraine’s civilians and civilian infrastructure,” he said.
“Ukrainian citizens and troops have responded with the magnificent defiance that the world now knows so well. And, in the face of Russia’s aggression, NATO is more united and more resolute than ever,” Austin said.
America is proud to have France as it’s oldest ally, he pointed out.
“Our alliance with France isn’t just grounded in our common strategic interests. It’s also rooted in our shared understanding of the importance of diplomacy and in our determination to strengthen the rules-based international order forged at such great cost after World War II,” he said.
“This document upholds our commitments to counterterrorism across the globe, from Africa to the Indo-Pacific, and bolsters our cooperation in the space and cyber domains and it builds up our resilience against hybrid threats,” Austin said.
Lecornu said he grew up in Normandy, France, where every June 6, American, British and French veterans would commemorate the D-Day landings of 1944.
France has a duty to remember those who sacrificed to liberate Europe and France has a duty to uphold freedom and democracy around the globe and to be a reliable partner, he said.
Lecornu thanked Austin for helping coordinate Ukraine’s defense planning among NATO partners.