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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Ukraine's Independence Day

The United States stands in solidarity with Ukraine as it celebrates the 32nd anniversary of its independence. The Ukrainian people have inspired the world with their courage and resolve to defend their right to live in a sovereign, democratic, and free country.  

For the past 18 months, Russia has waged a full-scale, unprovoked, and indefensible war against Ukraine. The Kremlin's war of choice has killed thousands of innocent Ukrainians, displaced millions more, and deliberately inflicted terror and trauma on Ukraine's men, women, and children. 

Yet the Ukrainian people remain indomitable, and Ukraine is fighting back valiantly to regain its sovereign territory and protect its citizens. 

The United States is proud to stand with Ukraine, and we will continue to ensure that it has what it needs to fight for its freedom. Under President Biden's leadership, we have built a strong global coalition in support of Ukraine and committed more than $43 billion in security assistance that has been critical to helping Ukraine since Russia launched its reckless and lawless invasion. We have provided air defense to protect Ukraine's skies, as well as artillery, tanks, armored vehicles and associated munitions, anti-armor weapons, and more to help Ukraine's defenders counter Russian aggression. To support Ukraine's current counteroffensive, our latest assistance package included key capabilities, such as additional mine-clearing equipment, armored vehicles, and artillery rounds.

Nations of goodwill from around the globe have also stepped up to condemn Russia's assault on the international system of rules and rights and rushed urgently needed assistance to Ukraine. Some 50 countries of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group that I convene have rallied to commit more than $32 billion in security assistance to support Ukraine's defense. 

Today, as Ukraine commemorates another year of independence, the United States remains steadfast in our commitment to ensure that it can celebrate many more. We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes in its fight for its security and freedom.