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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks Welcoming Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal to the Pentagon

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Well, good afternoon, everyone.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for joining us here at the Pentagon. It is an honor to have you here.

I know what painful days these are for Ukraine. Your people are suffering terribly after Russia's cruel and unjust invasion. But the world has been inspired -- inspired by your courage as you fight for your independence and for your democracy, and you do not stand alone.

Mr. Prime Minister, the United States stands firmly in solidarity with Ukraine's Armed Forces and its people. After Russia's unjustified invasion, Ukrainians are bravely defending their lives, their country and their freedom, and our support for Ukraine's self-defense is unwavering.

Since 2021, the United States has committed more than $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including $800 million more just announced today. Our most recent packages are tailored to provide the capabilities that will let you and your people counter Russia's changing tactics and to meet the renewed and reckless offensive that Russian forces are launching in the Donbas. Our help includes 155 mm Howitzers, counter-artillery radars, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial systems. All of this underscores our sheer determination. The United States will continue to support Ukraine's urgent requirements for today's battles and tomorrow's victories, and we will continue to build the enduring strength of Ukraine's Armed Forces.

But let's be clear: Putin's war of choice is both unjust and unnecessary, and your country's agony can end right now. So today, we call again on Russia to end its aggression, to halt its atrocities and to suspend its military operations and to withdraw its forces and equipment from Ukrainian territory without delay.

Since Russia's unprovoked and indefensible invasion, the United States and at least 30 other countries have helped provide Ukraine with the capabilities that it needs to defend itself, including air defense systems, and the United States and our Allies and our partners are united in our resolve to support Ukraine's independence and to promote global peace and stability and to uphold the rules-based international order.

Mr. Prime Minister, the United States is proud to stand with you and the people of Ukraine in your fight against Russian aggression. Thank you again, sir, for being here, and I look forward to our discussion.

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER DENYS SHMYHAL: Thank you, Mr. Secretary and your colleagues. It's my honor and a privilege to be here in Washington and to meet you and your team here at -- at the Pentagon. I would like to thank U.S. government and to you personally, to all of your team too, as well as to General Milley personally for your leadership and (inaudible) support of Ukraine as -- as we defend our land from continued Russian armed aggression in a full-scale war waged by the Putin regime in the center of Europe, the Europe continent. Your support helps us to send our ground and pulls the enemy back, and in doing so, to save the lives of our military and civilians, the main civilians, because this war is mostly against civilians, not against -- not against of military people.

Ukraine is doing the fighting, and I'm proud of the bravery of our people in Ukraine. There is no doubt that we will win this fight, but to end it sooner, we need more powerful and modern weapon to fight even more effectively. And as Russia started new phase of brutal attack in the south and east of Ukraine, continue to shell all cities with rockets, aviation and artillery, now we are at -- at a (inaudible) moment, and with the U.S. help, with your support, we can change the situation on the ground. We are winning now, but we need to cement this resolve and ensure -- ensure our victory in nearest future. We need continuous supply of firepower, long-range artillery, MLRS and all size weapons which would give us strategic advantage and count on continued U.S. leadership in this regard, and we have this support from you, from United States. We are so grateful for this support, for this supplying everything what you've mentioned today. I look forward to our discussion about our farther -- further cooperation, particularly in the military field. And thank you once again, to you personally, to your team. We will fight, and we will win altogether, because we protect democracy and we protect democracy for all democratic world.

SEC. AUSTIN: Mr. Prime Minister, it's a pleasure to have you here, and I look forward to the discussion. Thank you very much.