As always, an important guest shows up in Kiev unannounced. Pentagon chief Austin wants to dispel doubts about the US ally. And he wants to know what the Ukrainian soldiers need in winter.
During a visit to Kiev, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin assured Ukraine of his country’s long-term support for Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia. Austin met with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday.
The US is also providing Ukraine with a new arms package worth $100 million. According to information from Washington, it includes, among other things, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, a Himars multiple rocket launcher and artillery ammunition. This is military aid that has already been approved by the US Congress.
Austin said in Kiev that he saw “bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress” for continued support for Ukraine. Some members of Congress have legitimate questions that the administration will answer. President Joe Biden’s administration must fight to release new funds for Ukraine. The continuation of aid in the US Congress is controversial.
“Together with our allies and partners, we will continue to support Ukraine’s current battlefield needs and long-term defense requirements,” Austin wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter). The Pentagon said one goal of the visit was to clarify what the Ukrainian army needs especially in the beginning of winter.
Zelenskyj describes meetings as productive
During the talks with Austin, the situation at the front, the prospects there and ways to strengthen the Ukrainian defense were examined, Zelensky said in his daily video message. He described the meeting as productive. He thanked the United States for its “continued leadership role in aid.”
Ukraine has been repelling a Russian invasion since February 2022. No other country has helped Ukraine with such large arms deliveries as the USA. Most recently, Washington promised Ukraine ATACMS missiles, which have a longer range than US weapons previously delivered. With the approval of the USA, Ukrainian pilots are currently training on F-16 fighter jets that other countries want to hand over to Kiev.
Zelensky emphasized that the visit was a “very important signal” for Ukraine. Kiev continues to count on the support of the USA and both congressional parties. “The message I brought to you today is that the United States will stand by you,” Austin said in response.
As with all foreign politicians, the Pentagon chief’s trip had not been made public beforehand for security reasons. The commander in chief of US troops in Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, came to Kiev with Austin, as US Ambassador Bridget Brink announced. According to video recordings, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Rustem Umyerov also took part in the meeting with Zelensky from the Ukrainian side.
Tweet According to the Pentagon, Austin had already spoken to Umjerow on the phone the day before. They prepared the upcoming consultations of the approximately 50 countries that provide military support to Ukraine. The so-called Ramstein format meets on Wednesday (November 22nd) as a video conference.
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