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Austin Discusses War With Ukrainian Defense Minister

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 today.

Two men sit next to each other.
Pentagon Meeting
Earlier in October, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, listen at a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 12, 2022. It was the sixth such meeting of defense leaders from around the world since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Photo By: Chad J. McNeeley, DOD
VIRIN: 221012-D-TT977-0066

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."

Pallets of ammunition are loaded onto an aircraft.
Ammo Loading
Pallets of ammunition are loaded onto an 86th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 7, 2022. Air Mobility Command's global air mobility support system is critical to the Defense Department’s ability to aid Ukraine with security assistance.
Photo By: Air Force Capt. Emma Quirk
VIRIN: 220807-F-MA528-1008

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.
Live Fire
Army paratroopers assigned to the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade fire a FIM-92 Stinger during an air-defense, live-fire exercise with Croatian soldiers. The training is part of Exercise Shield 22 in Croatia on April 8, 2022.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. John Yountz
VIRIN: 220408-A-TO756-207M

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

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