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Press Secretary Discusses U.S.-U.K. Talks, Ukraine Situation, Boosters

The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom continues with Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks virtually hosting the fifth round of the U.S.-U.K Defense Dialogue, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.

A Man stands at a lectern, speaking into a microphone. The sign behind him indicates that he is at the Pentagon.
Press Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby speaks during a news conference, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Wheeler
VIRIN: 211210-N-SH180-2029

Hicks worked with her British counterpart Permanent Secretary for Defense David Williams. 

"The two leaders met virtually to deepen cooperation on a wide range of issues including defense strategy technology, innovation, force development and strategic competition and to discuss the upcoming national defense strategy," Kirby said. 

The dialogue also looked at the implementation of the nuclear posture review and the details of the new Australia-United Kingdom-United States partnership.

"They also discussed Russia's concerning military movement near Ukraine's borders and reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the press secretary said. 

The United States and the United Kingdom also pledged to deepen cooperation in space, Kirby said. 

Russia's actions on its border with Ukraine being discussed at the meeting shows the concern the globe has for President Vladimir Putin's destabilizing moves. Kirby said there is still a sizeable number of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine. 

Ukraine is a NATO partner and an aspiring NATO member. Putin is saying that Ukraine cannot join the defensive alliance. " NATO membership is a NATO decision," Kirby said. "[NATO] Secretary General [Jens] Stoltenberg has made it very clear that the alliance makes those kinds of decisions."

President Joe Biden has said that membership is up to "individual sovereign countries to determine their own associations, and how, and to what degree they want to participate in associations. So this membership in NATO, regardless, is again for NATO allies to determine."

Finally, Kirby announced there are discussions in DOD about COVID-19 booster shots and whether or not to make those mandatory. 

Service members who qualify under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for booster shots should get them, the press secretary said. He reiterated that DOD health officials are looking at the data.

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