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Austin to Host Ukraine Meeting, Meet With NATO Defense Ministers

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will travel to Brussels this week where he will meet with the U.S.-led coalition committed to backing Ukraine's defense against Russia's ongoing invasion, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said today.

Four people shake hands with flags behind them.
Official Welcome
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy alongside Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan before a bilateral exchange with President Joe Biden in Paris, June 7, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander C. Kubitza
VIRIN: 240607-D-PM193-2093

The meeting, scheduled for Thursday, will mark the 23rd iteration of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. 

"The secretary and chairman will join ministers of defense and senior military officials from nearly 50 nations to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the continued support from the international community to provide the Ukrainian people with the means necessary to defend their sovereign territory," Ryder told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.  

Ryder said discussions will likely focus, in part, on continued efforts to bolster Ukraine's air-defense capabilities, as well as efforts to enhance the defense industrial base within Ukraine and across the alliance.  

Austin will also participate in a NATO defense minister's meeting at NATO headquarters on Friday.

The engagements follow Austin's visit to France last week, where he and President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris. 

A man sits facing another man with flags behind them while others watch from the side.
Ukraine Meeting
President Joe Biden hosts a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris, June 7, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander C. Kubitza
VIRIN: 240607-D-PM193-2196C

The three leaders discussed the United States' efforts to support Ukraine's urgent battlefield needs. 

The president also announced a new package of security assistance for Ukraine, which is valued at $225 million and includes air defense interceptors, artillery ammunition and other critical capabilities. 

The latest provision is the sixth security assistance package announced by the U.S. since Biden signed a nearly $95 billion national security supplemental into law in April. The supplemental includes humanitarian and security assistance funds for Israel and Taiwan in addition to Ukraine.  

Ryder also said that the recent shipments of U.S. aid to Ukraine are showing signs of success on the front lines, as evidenced by Russia's slowing offensive near Kharkiv.  

The UDCG has also undertaken initiatives aimed at bolstering Ukraine's long-term defense through the formation of targeted capability coalitions.    

Thirteen members of the contact group are leading eight separate capability coalitions designed to drive Ukraine's long-term force development. Those coalitions focus on critical capabilities that range from air defense to artillery. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks while standing at a lectern with the American and Ukrainian flags in background.
Pentagon Briefing
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III conducts a briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., at the Pentagon, May 20, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 240520-D-XI929-2011

In remarks following last month's UDCG meeting, Austin underscored the United States' continued commitment to Ukraine's enduring security.  

"The outcome in Ukraine is crucial for European security, for global security, and for American security," Austin said. "None of us would want to live in a world where dictators redraw borders by force and launch wars of aggression to try to revive yesterday's empires.  

"So let me be clear, Ukraine's partners are united," he said. "We're determined. And we're not going anywhere."

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