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'Very good' meeting with US defense secretary in Singapore, Zelensky says

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 2, 2024 10:02 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky meets U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Singapore (X/President Volodymyr Zelensky)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had a "very good" meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore on June 2.

According to a post from Zelensky on social media, the pair discussed "the defense needs of our country, bolstering Ukraine's air defense system, the F-16 coalition, and drafting of a bilateral security agreement."

The meeting came after it was confirmed by the White House that it lifted the ban on the use of some U.S. weapons by Ukraine against Russian territory near Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts.

Ukraine is still banned from using long-range ATACMS missiles against Russian territory.

Zelensky arrived in Singapore on June 1 for the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference and meetings with high-ranking foreign officials, just one day after his visit to Stockholm for the third Nordic-Ukrainian summit.

Security assistance for Ukraine is expected to be one of the key issues discussed at this year's conference, which is organized annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), an independent think tank.

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun is also scheduled to join the event.

The U.S. will soon finalize a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine, the Financial Times (FT) reported on May 30, citing sources.

Over 30 countries have joined the Group of Seven (G7) Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine so far. The U.K., Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Belgium, and Portugal have already signed bilateral agreements with Kyiv.

Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, said earlier in May that "tangible progress" had been made on a similar agreement with the U.S.

FT: US close to signing bilateral security agreement with Ukraine as relations fray
The news comes as unnamed Ukrainian officials told the Financial Times that relations with the U.S. had reached their lowest point since the beginning of the full-scale war.

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