An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Two Years in, Russia's War on Ukraine Continues to Pose Threat to Global Security

Russia's invasion and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine is today not just an assault on Ukrainian freedom and liberty, but also a threat to global order, said U.S. officials. 

Two years ago today, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, Russia has failed to capture Kyiv, take control of the Ukrainian government, or stifle the spirit of the Ukrainian people. 

"The scale of Putin's blunder is especially stark today," said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in a statement yesterday. "The Kremlin's forces failed to win the Battle of Kyiv, failed to topple Ukraine's democratically elected government, and failed to crush the will of the Ukrainian people. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III shakes hands with the Ukrainian president.
Leader Handshake
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his speech at the National Defense University in Washington, Dec. 11, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jackie Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 231211-D-XI929-1060Y

"Ukraine has retaken more than half of the sovereign territory that was grabbed by the Kremlin's forces in 2022," he continued. "And as a result of Putin's unprovoked war, Russia has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties, lost significant equipment, and severely set back its military modernization program." 

Russia's war in Ukraine is not just a threat to Ukraine or the nations that share a border with it. Russia's war in Ukraine serves as a threat to all of Europe and the rest of the world, including the United States, President Joe Biden said. 

"The American people and people around the world understand that the stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine," Biden said in a statement released yesterday. "Ten years ago, Putin occupied Crimea and created puppet regimes in Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Two years ago, he tried to wipe Ukraine off the map. If Putin does not pay the price for his death and destruction, he will keep going. And the costs to the United States — along with our NATO allies and partners in Europe and around the world — will rise." 

Today, as part of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the United States continues to stand with Ukraine, along with international allies and partners, to provide what it needs for its defense now and in the future, Austin said. 

Officials sit around a large U-shaped table.
Brussels Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. participate in the 16th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 11, 2023.
Photo By: Benjamin D. Applebaum, DOD
VIRIN: 231011-D-LS763-1046R

"Since 2022, I have regularly convened some 50 countries from around the world as part of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group," Austin said. "This global coalition works together to ensure that Ukraine has the capabilities that it needs to defend its people from Russian aggression and take back its sovereign territory." 

The first contact group meeting happened in April 2022 in Germany. At the time, Austin hosted nearly 40 nations to discuss current and future efforts to provide the support for Ukraine to maintain its sovereignty. Today, that monthly meeting has grown to some 50, like-minded nations that are united in their support of Ukraine's freedom. 

"I hosted the most recent meeting of this contact group just last week, and I was struck again by the steadiness of its members' collective resolve," Austin said. "This historic coalition has committed more than $87 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of Putin's war — including 15 U.S. allies that, as a percentage of [gross domestic product], contribute more to Ukraine's capability needs than the United States." 

Since the start of the Russian invasion, the U.S. has provided, through presidential drawdown authority and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, more than $44.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. 

Cargo sits in the rear of an aircraft.
Loaded Cargo
Cargo sits on an aircraft after being loaded by airmen assigned to the 436th Aerial Port Squadron in support of a security assistance mission between the U.S. and Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base, Del., May 24, 2021. The U.S. and Ukraine first initiated a partnership in 1993. Missions such as this demonstrate U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee
VIRIN: 210524-F-IF976-1127R
Tactical vehicles lined in rows.
Fighting Vehicles
Bradley Fighting Vehicles bound for Ukraine are staged for loading onto the ARC Wallenius Wilhemsen vessel, Jan. 25, 2023, at the Transportation Core Dock in North Charleston, S.C.
Photo By: Oz Suguitan, U.S. Transportation Command
VIRIN: 230125-F-SK383-1112

Presidential drawdown authority allows the president in certain circumstances to withdraw weapons, ammunitions and materiel from existing U.S. military stocks and provide that to other nations. As part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, DOD contracts for the purchase of materiel to be sent. 

Included in the materiel that has been sent to Ukraine are: air defense systems, radar systems, artillery systems, tanks, helicopters, ground-combat and support vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, missiles, rockets, and millions of rounds of small arms ammunition. 

It's not just equipment and weapons that is needed by Ukraine. Since the start of Russia's invasion, the U.S. and partner nations have also provided important training to Ukrainians to improve their combat skills and to help them learn to use the equipment that the U.S. and partners have provided. 

After two years of Putin's reckless and lawless war, we salute Ukraine's brave defenders, and we wish Ukraine's unbowed citizens peace, security and freedom."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

The U.S. and partners have trained more than 123,000 Ukrainians at more than 80 locations around the world. The U.S. alone has provided training to some 19,000 Ukrainian service members on combined arms, specific combat platforms, and staff and leadership skills. 

Also in the U.S., Ukrainian service members are being trained on the use of the F-16 aircraft. Other Ukrainian service members, both pilots and aircraft maintainers, are also in the United States to attend English-language classes as part of the F-16 training coalition led by Denmark and the Netherlands. 

Going forward, Austin said, the U.S. must continue to stand with Ukraine, not just for the sake of Ukraine's own freedom and security, but for that of the world, as well. 

"Today's grim milestone should spur us all to decide what kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren: an open, secure, and prosperous world of rules and rights or the violent and lawless world of aggression and chaos that Putin seeks," Austin said. "We support Ukraine's fight for freedom, both because it is the right thing to do and because doing so is central to America's continued security. After two years of Putin's reckless and lawless war, we salute Ukraine's brave defenders, and we wish Ukraine's unbowed citizens peace, security and freedom."

Related Stories