At the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the top priority discussed was the continued support for Ukraine’s air defense, as emphasized by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.
During the meeting, Austin urged allies and partners to provide Ukraine with all available air defense munitions, especially considering the impending winter warfare. He acknowledged the significance of this meeting, as it marked the first participation of Ukraine’s new Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, and expressed his gratitude for his presence.
Austin reiterated the critical importance of air defense in Ukraine’s success on the battlefield, emphasizing that it remains a top requirement for safeguarding Ukrainian skies, civilians, cities, and innocent individuals away from the front lines.
He also highlighted the support provided by the United States and the UDCG (Ukrainian Defense Contact Group) partners, including air defense systems such as the Patriot, Hawk, IRIS-T, NASAMS, and Gepards, which have played a crucial role in protecting Ukraine’s forces, civilians, and essential infrastructure.
In addition to air defense systems, Austin discussed other forms of assistance provided to Ukraine, such as American-made M-1 tanks arriving soon, collective training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, and donations of F-16s by the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. Poland, Germany, and Sweden have also contributed significant aid packages, including mine-clearing equipment, armored personnel carriers, ammunition, and spare parts.
Austin emphasized the unwavering commitment of like-minded countries working together to fulfill Ukraine’s immediate and long-term needs. He stressed the continuous evolution of support through specialized capabilities coalitions in areas like armor, F-16 training, and information technology to strengthen Ukraine’s fighting force for the future.
Army General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also attended the meeting, which marked his last contact group meeting before retirement. He underlined the enduring mission of the group to support Ukraine until it achieves freedom and sovereignty, emphasizing that this commitment transcends individuals and relies on the collective dedication of the participating nations.
The ultimate goal remains crystal clear: to support Ukraine until an end is brought to Putin’s unjustified, illegal, and destructive war. The commitment to Ukraine as a free, independent, sovereign nation with its territorial integrity intact remains unwavering.