Pentagon: 20 countries agree to new security aid for Ukraine

A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo)

Some 20 countries have committed to new security assistance packages for Ukraine following a multination conference on how to meet Kyiv’s needs, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday. 

The virtual meeting, which included ministers and chiefs of defense from 47 countries, was the second Ukraine Contact Group gathering since Russia’s attack began in late February.  

The group was formed last month when officials met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss how to meet Ukraine’s defense needs.  

“Many countries are donating critically needed artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems and tanks and other armored vehicles,” Austin told reporters at the Pentagon after the meeting ended. “Others came forward with new commitments for training Ukraine’s forces and sustaining its military systems.” 

Among the weapons being committed is a Harpoon launcher and missiles from Denmark to “help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said.  

The Czech Republic, meanwhile, agreed to send “substantial support, including a recent donation of attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems,” he added. 

In addition, Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland all announced new donations of artillery systems and ammunition. 

Austin said he was encouraged by several more countries joining the group in its second meeting, including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ireland and Kosovo. 

“I’m deeply grateful to these countries and to all the countries that have stood up today,” he said. “In the short four weeks since the contact group convened at Ramstein, the momentum of donations and deliveries has been outstanding. And after today’s discussions, I’m pleased to report that we’re intensifying our efforts.” 

Western nations have been working furiously to send Ukraine weapons and equipment to help it stave off Russia’s unprovoked invasion, a conflict that has caused 6.5 million people to flee the country and internally displaced another 8 million.  

Austin also announced a third meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in person in Brussels on June 15, around the same time as the upcoming NATO defense ministerial. 

“Of course, it won’t be a NATO event, but we want to keep up the tempo of these meetings and I wanted to use my travel to Europe to ensure that we’re building on our momentum,” he said.

Tags Lloyd Austin Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war
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