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Lloyd Austin: 'Ukraine’s survival is in danger’

by Chris York March 19, 2024 8:55 PM 2 min read
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin talks to the media at the seventh gathering of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein air base in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, on March 19, 2024. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)
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Ukraine’s survival in the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion is “in danger” which poses a risk to America, the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on March 19.

Speaking at the monthly Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Ramstein, Germany, Austin said he was “fully determined to keep U.S. security assistance and ammunition flowing.”

He added: “And that's a matter of survival and sovereignty for Ukraine and it's a matter of honor and security for America.”

Aid for Ukraine has been stuck in the U.S. Congress since autumn 2023.

The U.S. Senate on Feb. 13 passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and other allies, but Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in the House of Representatives.

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The Hill previously reported that Johnson suggested providing a Ukraine aid package as a loan or lend-lease program to benefit U.S. taxpayers.

The U.S. State Department criticized the Republicans' idea of providing aid to Ukraine as a loan, saying that it was "an appropriate step" to "saddle Ukraine with billions of dollars of foreign debt" during wartime.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s forces are running desperately short of ammunition, particularly 155mm artillery shells.

The shortage is also affecting air defenses with the Washington Post this week reporting some systems defending Ukraine’s cities may be nearly used up by the end of March.

Ukraine has tried to shoot down four of every five missiles aimed at its cities, but the shortage in munitions for its defenses may soon force Ukraine to aim for only one of every five, one official told the newspaper.

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