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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Marking Two Years Since Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Two years ago, Russian forces launched an illegal and indefensible all-out invasion of Ukraine. But Ukraine's defiance in the face of Putin's aggression and atrocities has inspired free people everywhere.

Over the past two years, Putin has assumed that Ukraine's forces would collapse and that Ukraine's friends would cower. He couldn't have been more wrong.

The scale of Putin's blunder is especially stark today. 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. Ukraine has retaken more than half of the sovereign territory that was grabbed by the Kremlin's forces in 2022. 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.

However, Ukraine faces a tough fight ahead. I urge members of Congress to act quickly to pass the national-security supplemental to ensure that Ukrainian troops have what they need to defend their country and their citizens from Russia's cruelty—and to send a strong message of America's continued commitment to Ukraine's freedom.

We will also continue to rally the world to support Ukraine. Since 2022, I have regularly convened some 50 countries from around the world as part of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. 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. 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. 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 GDP, contribute more to Ukraine's capability needs than the United States.

We must continue to be candid with the American people about the stakes in Ukraine. The Kremlin's war poses a direct threat to security in Europe and beyond. The world will only become more dangerous if Putin and his fellow autocrats conclude that they can wipe democracies off the map and force free people to live in fear. So 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.

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.