Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says “Putin never imagined” such Ukrainian support

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RAMSTEEN AIR BASE, GERMANY – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a gathering of military leaders in Germany that “the Ukrainian resistance has inspired the free world and greater resolve for NATO” – and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “never imagined that the world would gather behind Ukraine so quickly and with confidence.”

Austin made the remarks, as he opened a US-organized gathering of more than 40 countries to discuss Ukraine’s defense needs to fight against Russia, the US announced. More military aid Planning to reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Poland said it will send tanks, and Germany plans to send anti-aircraft armored vehicles.

“We are all for you,” Austin told Ukraine, in comments following his trip to Kyiv.

The meeting was attended by senior defense officials from NATO and non-NATO countries, which is part of the new Ukraine Defense Advisory Group. Some countries, such as Israel and Qatar, had representatives at the table, although they were not included in the official list of attendees. The inclusion of non-NATO countries such as Kenya, Tunisia, and Japan was part of an effort to expand substantive and symbolic support for Ukraine beyond Europe and the Alliance.

In separate statements to the group, General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a stark picture of the next phase of the war, as Russia attempts to gain full control of southeastern and southern Ukraine. “Time is not on Ukraine’s side,” Milley said in closed comments provided to reporters traveling with him. “The outcome of this battle, here, today, depends on the people in this room.”

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Live updates: US general says “time is not on Ukraine’s side”; Putin meets the Secretary-General of the United Nations

World leaders are pressing Putin to stop the war, now in its third month. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is in Moscow for Meets Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a ceasefire on Tuesday and said everything must be done “to end the war as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, Lavrov sounded alarm bells when he told state television that the risk of escalating the conflict into nuclear war was “serious, it’s real” – but added that Moscow’s position was that nuclear war was unacceptable. Lavrov accused NATO of waging a proxy war by donating arms to Kyiv and said the flow of arms from allies to Ukraine would be seen as a “legitimate target” of the Russian military.

US goals from the gathering were to share what Pentagon spokesman John Kirby called a “common understanding” of the current battlefield and Ukraine’s defense capabilities and requirements, as well as the capacity of national industrial bases.

Austin says the US wants to “weaken” the Russian military from invading Ukraine

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov led a delegation from Kyiv, which visited Austin and Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken Sunday.

“That visit only confirmed my sense of urgency, the urgency of something I know we all share,” Austin said at the meeting. “I would like this whole group to leave today with a common and transparent understanding of Ukraine’s near-term security requirements because we will continue to move in heaven and earth until we can meet them,” he stressed.

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Last week, President Biden announced an additional $800 million in weapons assistance to Ukraine, including heavy artillery and high-tech attack drones aimed at the new battlefield in the south and southeast. American military officials estimated that the Russians, who withdrew to those areas after failing to capture Kyiv, would attempt to encircle the Ukrainian forces there in a major ground battle.

In his opening statement, Austin said, “My trip to Kyiv reinforced my admiration for the way the Ukrainian Armed Forces deploy” the assistance they are receiving. Ukraine clearly thinks it can win. So does everyone here.”

Mielle was less decisive after the reporters left the room. “The next two, three or four weeks will be the overall outcome of this battle,” he said.

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