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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Participation in Virtual NATO-Ukraine Council Meeting in Defense Ministers Format

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

On April 19, 2024, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III joined NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov, and NATO Allies virtually for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Defense Ministers format.  Ministers addressed Ukraine's urgent need for air defense and other security assistance priorities amidst Russia's relentless aerial attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure and civilians. 
Secretary Austin underscored to Allies the need for immediate, concerted action on air defense.  He highlighted the successes of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group over the last two years in delivering substantial capability to Ukraine, with over 70 mid- to long-range air defense systems and thousands of missiles committed by UDCG participants.  Secretary Austin emphasized that the United States will continue to push for action on air defense and other priority requirements for Ukraine. 

Secretary Austin will convene the twenty-first meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting virtually on Friday, Apr. 26 — the two-year anniversary of the first Contact Group meeting following Russia's unprovoked and illegal invasion.