17:31 23 May 2022

Ukraine joins the meeting of 40 defense ministers on russia's war in Ukraine

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomed more than 40 countries at the second Ukraine Contact Group meeting virtually on May 23. The discussion focused on Ukraine's military support.

RBC-Ukraine reports, referring to CNN.

Austin thanked the defense ministers of 40 countries for their presence and stressed the progress made since the first meeting of the contact group at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany last month. He welcomed efforts made by Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom about the military equipment they provided to Ukraine after the meeting.

Since last month's contact group meeting, Australia and Canada "committed to providing M777 Howitzers, and in just four weeks, all those systems have been delivered to the Ukrainians," Austin said. The UK also "delivered brimstone missiles and a new short-range defense system," and "many countries have pushed hard to stand up important new training missions, and we've watched these efforts make a real difference in real time," he added.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and a representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine joined the virtual meeting. Four new countries that were not present at Ramstein last month also joined the panel: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ireland, and Kosovo.

"Since russia's invasion on February 24, more than 40 of our allies and partners from around the globe have stepped up to provide critical security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, and today we're honored to have defense leaders from 44 countries with us, as well as representatives from NATO and the EU," Austin said.

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