Austin Says World Is Resolute In Supporting Ukraine
By DoD News
By David Vergun
One year ago, Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of its peaceful and democratic neighbor, Ukraine—a cruel war of choice that has killed thousands of innocent Ukrainians, forced millions more from their homes, left countless wounded or traumatized, and inflicted tragedy and terror on a sovereign U.N. member state, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in a statement Friday.
“Today’s solemn anniversary is an opportunity for all who believe in freedom, rules and sovereignty to recommit ourselves to supporting Ukraine’s brave defenders for the long haul—and to recall that the stakes of Russia’s war stretch far beyond Ukraine,” he stated.
The United States has rallied the world to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable. Over the past year, the United States has committed more than $32 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Austin stated.
The U.S. has also rallied nations of goodwill from around the planet to condemn Russia’s aggression and rush urgently needed assistance to Ukraine, he stated.
“The engine of our efforts is the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an extraordinary coalition of some 50 countries that I convene regularly to coordinate support to Ukraine’s defenders,” Austin stated.
Allies and partners in the contact group have committed more than $20 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including hundreds of tanks, thousands of other armored vehicles, vital air-defense systems, hundreds of artillery systems and other crucial capabilities, he stated.
The United States has deployed or extended more than 20,000 additional U.S. forces to Europe and forward stationed the first permanent U.S. forces on NATO’s eastern flank, he stated.
“NATO is more united than ever, and the U.S. commitment to defend every inch of allied territory remains ironclad,” Austin added.
“Putin thought that Ukraine’s defenses would collapse, that America’s resolve would falter, and that the world would look the other way. He was wrong. One year later, Ukraine’s brave defenders have not wavered, and neither has our commitment to support them for as long as it takes,” Austin stated.
At an afternoon briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Austin today spoke by phone with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. Austin praised Ukraine’s courage and sacrifices that have inspired and rallied the international community to support efforts to push back against Russian aggression. He also provided Reznikov with an update on U.S. security assistance, which the Defense Department announced Friday.
That security assistance package totals $2 billion and is provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, Ryder said.
“The security assistance package reaffirms the steadfast support of the United States for Ukraine by committing additional unmanned aerial systems and counter-UAS [unmanned aerial systems] and electronic warfare detection equipment, as well as critical ammunition stocks for artillery and precision fires capabilities,” Ryder said.
Capabilities in this security assistance package include:
- Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;
- Additional 155 mm artillery rounds;
- Munitions for laser-guided rocket systems;
- CyberLux K8 UAS;
- Switchblade 600 UAS;
- Altius-600 UAS;
- Jump 20 UAS;
- Counter-UAS and electronic warfare detection equipment;
- Mine clearing equipment;
- Secure communications support equipment; and
- Funding for training, maintenance and sustainment.
Unlike presidential drawdowns, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities rather than delivering equipment that is drawn from DOD stocks.