US assures allies it 'will not Back Down on Support for Ukraine’

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III emphasized Tuesday that the US “will not let Ukraine fail.” Austin also noted that Ukraine’s military has destroyed or damaged 20 medium to large Russian navy vessels.

“Ukraine will not back down, and neither will the United States,” said Austin.

Austin yesterday convened the 20th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, praising the “countries of conscience” that are working together to aid Ukraine in its fight.

Austin and Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with representatives of more than 50 countries and organizations to channel aid, training and capabilities to Ukraine.

In remarks opening the meeting, Austin said that “At least 315,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded.”

The U.S. Secretary of Defense said that Russia has wasted up to $211 billion to equip, deploy, maintain and sustain its war.

“Putin’s war of choice will cost Russia $1.3 trillion in previously anticipated economic growth through 2026,” the secretary said. “And Ukraine’s defenders continue to degrade the Kremlin’s capabilities.”

The United States recently announced $300m more in security assistance for Ukraine.

This money was available due to savings in replacement of U.S. capabilities that have gone to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Austin said he believes there is a bipartisan consensus in Congress for passing a supplemental bill that will continue to fund U.S. aid to Ukraine.