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Austin makes opening remarks at Ramstein summit, outlines main issues on agenda

by Dinara Khalilova June 15, 2023 1:52 PM 2 min read
US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III waits seated for the start of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at NATO headquarters during the first of two days of defence ministers' meetings on June 15, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivered opening remarks at June 14 Ramstein summit, pledging to continue providing Ukraine with "urgent capabilities" needed to defend against Russian aggression.

The members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, comprising over 50 nations, have met in Brussels to coordinate efforts to provide military aid to Ukraine. This is the 13th meeting of the group, also known as the Ramstein summit, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Austin said that the U.S. and allies have focused on supplying Ukraine with air defense assistance and asked the contact group's members to keep working in this direction.

The meeting will also focus on a joint initiative to train Ukrainian pilots on U.S.-built F-16 fighter jets, with Denmark and the Netherlands expected to give an update on the program, according to Austin.

In addition, Germany and Poland will brief partners regarding the next steps in sustaining German-made Leopard tanks used by Ukrainian troops, the Pentagon chief said.

A separate issue of the meeting will be the allies' efforts to ensure Ukraine can protect itself from Russian aggression in the future.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that Ukraine needs a force that is interoperable with our militaries. So today, we'll hear from U.S. Commander Cavoli and several colleagues about future training plans and our work to support that," added Austin.

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