Austin Discusses War With Ukrainian Defense Minister


By Jim Garamone

The United States continues to work with Ukraine to ensure the country has what it needs to defeat the Russian invaders, Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Friday.

Singh said the United States is working with other members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to rush air defense capabilities to Ukraine in the face of Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov this morning and assured him that the United States, its allies and partners will continue to work with Ukraine. “The two leaders pledged to remain in close contact,” the deputy press secretary said. 

The secretary also spoke by phone with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu this morning, Singh said. The secretary’s call to the Russian leader was “to emphasize the importance of maintaining lines of communication amid the ongoing war against Ukraine.”

Russia is using Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles to attack civilian areas in Ukraine. U.S. officials assess that Iranian personnel are on the ground in Ukraine assisting Russia in the drone operations there. U.S. officials said the Iranians are “complicit in terms of exporting terror.”

Ukraine needs more air defense capabilities against Russia. Last week, Austin and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were in Brussels meeting with the Ukraine Defense Contact group to build Ukraine’s capabilities, Singh said. She noted that the U.S. leaders are working with contact group partners to get this equipment.  

“Just to take a step back, we have transferred already 1,400 Stinger anti-air systems to Ukraine,” she said. “We are working with our allies and partners, [and that] includes Slovakia’s transfer of the S-300 system … delivered back in April.”

Soldiers fire a missile.

Singh said more needs to be done, but a lot has already been done.

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