By DoD News
By David Vergun
America’s commitment to supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression is unshakable, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
Austin delivered introductory remarks prior to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address at the National Defense University Monday in Washington.
“Ukraine’s fight for freedom is one of the great causes of our time. And the United States is proud to stand with you. And, make no mistake about it, Ukraine matters profoundly to America’s security and to the trajectory of global security in the 21st century,” Austin said.
That’s why the United States has committed more than $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine’s brave defenders and has rallied a historic coalition of some 50 allies and partners, who have contributed more than $37 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, he added.
“The capabilities from our coalition are making a crucial difference on the battlefield. Ukraine has taken back more than half of the territory grabbed by Russia since February 2022,” the secretary said.
The Russian military had been badly weakened. Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to demoralize the Ukrainian people. Instead, he demoralized the Russian military, Austin said.
America and the coalition are determined to help Ukraine fight to defend its territory and its citizens and to extend its battlefield gains, he said.
“If we do not stand up to the Kremlin’s aggression today, if we do not deter other would-be aggressors, we will only invite more aggression, more bloodshed and more chaos,” Austin said.
Zelenskyy said that Russia’s fight against Ukraine is really a fight against a free and united Europe.
Zelenskyy said that Putin’s aim isn’t just the takeover and destruction of Ukraine. He will wage a global war on freedom.
“Ukrainians haven’t given up and won’t give up. We know what to do. And you can count on Ukraine. And we hope just as much to be able to count on you,” he said.