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U.S.-U.K. Leaders Discuss Aid to Ukraine, NATO Issues During Pentagon Meeting

May 11, 2022 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III continued DOD's close cooperation with the United Kingdom as he sat down for Pentagon talks with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace today.

A large group of people meet around a log narrow table.
Defense Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meets with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace at the Pentagon, May 11, 2022.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220511-D-BN624-0300

The United States and United Kingdom have been in lockstep supporting Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invaders, and Austin thanked his British counterpart for his leadership and support. 

"The U.S.-U.K. relationship is strong and even more viable after Russia's invasion of Ukraine," Austin said at the beginning of the meeting. "The United States and United Kingdom stand firmly in solidarity with Ukraine's armed forces and its people. The world is in awe of their courage. And I'm proud to be working with you to help Ukraine defend their democracy."  

Ukraine stopped Russia cold in its attempt to take the capital city of Kyiv. But the struggle has entered a new phase with Russia attacking the eastern and southern areas of Ukraine. "Russia's invasion has entered a different phase that is no less dangerous," Austin said. "But we will continue to work together with unity and resolve to rush Ukraine what it needs to defend itself now, and in [the] future." 

An aerial view of the Pentagon.
Aerial View
An aerial view of the Pentagon, May 11, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase, DOD
VIRIN: 210512-D-BM568-1287R

Austin praised the United Kingdom for stepping up for Ukraine and standing up in opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war. "Your country is a leader among allies and partners in providing security aid to Ukraine," Austin said.  

The United Kingdom has sent weapons and supplies to the embattled Ukrainians, and they are working with others to encourage donations and facilitate deliveries of security assistance to Ukraine, through the UK-led International Deconfliction Coordination Center, the secretary said. "All of this has made a real difference on the battlefield," he said. 

Wallace thanked Austin for his leadership of the effort to aid Ukraine and for America's steadfast support and commitment to NATO allies. "Words and deeds matter," he said. "Deeds matter more often than words." 

He said the United States has demonstrated through deeds that "they stand by their allies," he said.  

The British minister noted that the United States has been supplying Ukraine with training assistance and materials since Russia invaded the first time in 2014 when Putin illegally annexed Crimea and incited violence in the eastern provinces of Ukraine. "Because of that, Ukraine is stronger today and able to hold out in defense against a very aggressive foe," Wallace said.  

Wallace said many have criticized NATO in the past saying the alliance is outdated or unneeded. "I think the response to the Russian invasion has shown that actually NATO is far from moribund," he said. "NATO is alive, well and united."