Multination defense meeting on Ukraine war to happen monthly
A meeting of countries to discuss Ukraine’s war strategy and military assistance for the embattled nation will become a monthly occurrence, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday.
Austin, who addressed reporters following a meeting of top military officials from more than 40 nations, thanked the countries that have helped Ukraine in its fight against Russia but stressed that “we don’t have any time to waste.”
“The briefings today laid out clearly why the coming weeks will be so crucial for Ukraine, so we got to move at the speed of war,” Austin said from the U.S.-controlled Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“I know that all the leaders leave today more resolved than ever to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and atrocities. And I know that we’re all determined to do even more to better coordinate our efforts.”
Austin earlier met with his counterparts and other defense officials to discuss aid for Ukraine, the progress of the conflict, as well as Kyiv’s postwar military needs.
He said allies will now meet monthly to discuss Ukraine’s self-defense and “continue to build on our progress,” with gatherings to be in person, virtual or mixed.
Austin also said officials are coming away from the meeting determined to help Ukraine win the war and build strength for future conflicts, noting that Germany earlier on Tuesday pledged 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft armored vehicles and Canada the same day announced it would also send armored vehicles.
That news follows the British government’s Monday announcement that it would give a small number of Stormer armored vehicles outfitted with launchers for anti-aircraft missiles, Austin added.
“That’s important progress. We’re seeing more every day. And I applaud all the countries that have risen and are rising to meet this demand. But we don’t have any time to waste,” he said.
The U.S., allies and partner nations have billions of dollars’ worth of weapons into Ukraine since Russia began its attack on the ex-Soviet country more than two months ago.
Washington alone has sent more than $3.4 billion in military aid to Kyiv.