RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The United States and its allies will meet once a month to discuss Ukraine’s defense needs to battle invading Russian troops, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says today.
“Today’s gathering will become a monthly Contact Group on Ukraine’s self-defense,” Austin says following the first session of a weapons summit.
“The Contact Group will be a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, coordinate our assistance, and focus on winning today’s fight and the struggles to come,” he adds.
Forty nations joined today’s meeting at the Ramstein US airbase in southwestern Germany, including NATO members but also countries such as Israel, Japan and Australia.
At the start of the talks, Austin had said Washington would “move heaven and earth” to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht meanwhile announces that Berlin has agreed to give the go-ahead to the delivery of used Gepard (Cheetah) anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine.
Austin praises the “major decision” by Berlin to supply the 50 anti-aircraft systems, and adds that Canada would also send eight armored vehicles.
He also reiterates that Washington wants Russia weakened militarily to prevent Moscow from threatening its neighbors.