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Cumartesi, Nisan 20, 2024

US ‘will not let Ukraine fail,’ vows defense chief

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Washington will not let Ukraine fail, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday amid congressional Republicans in the US blocking the flow of military aid.

“We remain determined to provide Ukraine with the resources that it needs to resist the Kremlin’s aggression,” Austin told a high-level meeting of NATO allies and partners at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

He said Ukrainian troops currently face “harsh conditions and hard fighting” and they need more weapons and ammunition from Western countries to counter Russia’s military aggression.

“Ukraine won’t back down and neither will United States. So our message today is clear. United States will not let Ukraine fail. This coalition will not let Ukraine fail, and the free world will not let Ukraine fail,” Austin said.

Touting a new $300 million additional security assistance package the US announced last week, he said it would support Ukraine’s most pressing needs for air defense, artillery and anti-tank capabilities.

By bypassing Republicans in the US Congress, the package was assembled from defense savings in other areas.

“The Czech Republic recently procured 800,000 urgently needed artillery shells Germany, (and) France, Denmark and Sweden have each recently announced important new military aid packages,” Austin said.

He also said the countries that lead “capability coalitions” held a special session this morning to discuss ways to boost arms deliveries to Ukraine, ongoing training missions, and defense cooperation initiatives.

“The capability coalitions have made significant progress in recent weeks. We’ll keep working together with all of the capability coalitions to identify gaps to maintain cross cutting needs, and to help Ukraine build a formidable force for the future,” he said.

The Ramstein meeting comes amid growing concerns in Kyiv about the sustainability of US military support for Ukraine, due to Republicans blocking aid during an election year, and the likelihood of a second term for former President Donald Trump.

In recent weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to the Western allies for more support and warned that the Ukrainian army faces critical shortages of ammunition, especially artillery shells. (AA)

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