Ukraine's Defense contact group, which more than 45 countries have already joined, is committed to providing Ukraine with everything it needs to defend itself. The group's successful work is a reflection of Russia's global rejection of Russia's unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine.
This was stated today at the NATO headquarters in Brussels at the opening of the Contact group's third meeting on Ukraine's defence by US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin.
"We have been in close contact with defence minister Reznikov on changes on the battlefield. We worked hard to respond to Ukraine's request for new capabilities. These include long-range firearms, armour, and coastal defences. To help Ukraine defend itself, the United States has provided it with howitzers, Javelins and ammunition, drones, M-17 helicopters, anti-battery radars, tactical vehicles, and electronic warfare. Together with our partners, we are also training Ukrainian forces to acquire new capabilities, and we intend to do so even on a larger scale, "said the US official.
He noted that Ukraine is now facing a crucial moment on the battlefield, and the stakes in this situation are very high. As president Zelenskyy warned, after the failure to capture Kyiv, Russian troops regrouped, rebuilt, and shifted the centre of the attack on Donbas.
"We must not underestimate the challenge facing Ukraine. Russia is using its long-range means to gain control of Ukraine's positions. Russia continues to bomb Ukraine's sovereign territory indiscriminately and is insanely threatening Ukraine's civilian population. So we need to strengthen our joint commitment and make more efforts so that Ukraine can protect itself, its citizens, and its territory, "said Lloyd Austin.
He warned against erroneous judgments about the nature of this conflict. Russia's unprovoked and senseless invasion of Ukraine is a threat not only to Ukraine itself but also to European security and the whole international order-based order. It is no coincidence that since February 24, when the Russian aggression began, more than 45 allies and partners from around the world, as well as the EU and NATO, joined the Ukrainian Contact group and provided Ukraine with self-defence tools. Ecuador, Georgia, and Moldova took part in the forum today. According to Austin, all the activities of this Contact group are evidence of a global rejection of Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.
"We have to face this challenge. This is exactly what Ukrainian soldiers and citizens are doing. They are defending their homeland with determination, unity, and ingenuity, they are inspiring us all, but they need our help," said the United States secretary of defence.
He reminded that the United States provides Ukrainian defenders with HIMARS multi-role missile systems, which will significantly increase Ukraine's defence capabilities, especially with modern NATO-standard missile systems from the United Kingdom and other allies.
Also, Ukraine will receive 18 155-mm howitzers from sashes;
- 36.000 155-mm shells;
- 18 tactical vehicles for transporting howitzers;
- Additional shells for HIMARS;
- 4 vehicles for equipment repair;
- 2 coast guard systems with Harpoon missiles;
- Protected radio stations;
- Optical devices, including night vision.
"We have seen the provision of Harpoon launchers and missiles to strengthen Ukraine's coastal defence. The United Kingdom has installed M270 long-range missile systems and is training Ukrainians to defend their territories in the Donbas. Some of our partners provide howitzers and artillery ammunition, and Ukrainian troops are already using them to protect Donbas. Other forms of military assistance, such as tanks and helicopters, continue to flow into Ukraine," said Lloyd Austin.
He stressed that the joint efforts of the members of the Contact group on Ukraine's defence will be able to help the country defend itself from the brutal Russian offensive and prepare for future challenges.
"We can strengthen Ukraine's security for a long time and prove that the rules work and that the rule of law cannot replace the rule of law," he said.