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Pentagon head says allies to help Ukraine launch counter-offensive in spring

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 14, 2023 1:38 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (right) talks to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III (left) before the start of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting at NATO headquarters during the first day of a North Atlantic Council meeting on Feb. 14, 2023, in Brussels. (Omar Havana via Getty Images)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Feb. 14 that the Ukraine Defense Contact Group would "support Ukraine's fight for freedom over the long haul," adding that it would help Kyiv "hold and advance during the spring counter-offensive."

"With unity and urgency, we will again deliver the support that we have promised to Ukraine," Austin said in his opening remarks before the group's meeting in Brussels. "We will put capabilities into the hands of trained Ukrainian forces so they can be integrated together on the battlefield."

The 9th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as the Ramstein summit, is taking place on Feb. 14 at the NATO headquarters in Belgium.

Austin also listed the countries that have started preparations for transferring Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine or have given a corresponding commitment.

The list includes Germany, Poland, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, according to U.S. Defense Secretary.

The Ukraine Contact Group, consisting of more than 40 countries, has already committed to about $50 billion in "lethal assistance" to Ukraine since the start of Russia's all-out invasion last February, added Austin.

The Ramstein-9 summit is focusing on the protection of the Ukrainian sky, the "tank coalition's" development, the formation of a safety margin for ammunition, training programs for Ukrainian troops, and stability of military support, according to Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

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