Ukraine at crucial time in fight for freedom, says Pentagon chief

15 March, 06:29 PM
Lloyd Austin (Photo:Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS)

Lloyd Austin (Photo:Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS)

Ukraine is now at a crucial time in the fight for its freedom, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during an online meeting of the 10th Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as a “Ramstein format” meeting, on March 15.

“More than a year ago, Russia launched its illegal and unprovoked, full-scale invasion,” Austin said.

“And ever since, Ukraine’s forces have been fighting bravely to defend their sovereignty, their territory, and their freedom.”

He said Russian aggression was the greatest threat to European security since the end of the Second World War, as well as a direct attack on the rules-based international order that keeps the world safe and secure.

Video of day

“But we are now at a crucial time in the course of Ukraine’s fight for freedom,” the official stressed.

“And we must all demonstrate our continued resolve and unity. That means following through on our commitments – fully and quickly.”

Austin added that the coalition of countries that are donating Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine continues to grow.

“And nine countries have now committed to providing more than 150 Leopard tanks,” he said.

Germany, after much hesitation, approved the transfer of 14 Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine and their re-export from partner countries. The same day, the United States announced that it would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the first tanks could be sent to Ukraine by the end of March.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba estimated that Ukraine would receive 120-140 modern Western-made tanks in the first wave.

Previously, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine’s defenders need 300-500 tanks for an offensive to liberate more Ukrainian territory from Russian occupation.

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news