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Syrskyi, Umerov discuss ammunition supplies with Pentagon chief

by Kateryna Denisova February 21, 2024 2:36 AM 2 min read
Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi (left) and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov shake hands during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 9, 2024. (Defense Ministry)
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Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov spoke with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Feb. 20, Umerov wrote on Facebook.

Syrskyi briefed the U.S. Defense Secretary about the current situation on the front line.

On Feb. 18, the general announced his decision to withdraw Ukrainian units from the embattled town of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast. The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported that as of Feb. 20, Russian troops are trying to advance in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Marinka, Avdiivka, Novopavlivka, and Zaporizhzhia sectors in the east and south of Ukraine.

"The common understanding of the situation and the action plan were discussed. The ammunition supply was in focus as well," Umerov said amid reports that, due to the stalled U.S. aid, Ukraine began running out of ammunition.

Two days before Ukraine's formal retreat from Avdiivka, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the city was at risk of falling to Russian hands, citing Ukraine's critical shortage of artillery shells as a significant contributing factor.

Umerov noted Kyiv and Washington are "working on the urgent needs of the Ukrainian Defense Forces" and long-term planning in the format of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group capability coalition.

The last meeting in the Ramstein format took place on Feb. 14. Umerov announced the official launch of the "drone coalition” and  "air defense coalition."

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The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink told reporters on Feb. 20 that the U.S. does not “have a plan B” when it comes to the supplemental aid package currently being debated in Congress “because we’re focused 100% on plan A.”

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