ANI Photo | “Putin won’t stop if he is successful in Ukraine”, says Lloyd Austin

Reaffirming US support for Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin warned that if Vladimir Putin is successful here, he will not stop there.
Convening the 20th meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, Austin said that Ukraine will not back down in the face of the Russian invasion of the country, and neither will the United States, the statement from the US Department of Defence (DOD) stated.
The meeting took place at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, praising the “countries of conscience” that are working together to aid Ukraine in its fight.
Austin and Air Force General 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.
“For more than two years, Ukraine’s forces have fought Putin’s aggression with defiance and skill,” the DOD quoted Austin as saying.
“Russia has paid a staggering cost for Putin’s imperial dreams. At least 315,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded,” he said addressing the event.
The US Secretary of Defence said that Russia has wasted USD 211 billion and the war will cost Moscow USD 1.3 trillion.
“Since the invasion, Russia has wasted up to USD 211 billion to equip, deploy, maintain and sustain its needless war on its neighbour,” Austin said. “Putin’s war of choice will cost Russia USD 1.3 trillion in previously anticipated economic growth through 2026.”
He further emphasised that Ukraine has been valiantly fighting against “Kremlin’s invaders” and the people of Ukraine “will not let Putin prevail.”
“If Putin is successful in Ukraine, he will not stop there,” Austin said. “Our allies and partners are here because they understand the stakes.”
“And Ukraine’s friends continue to come up with innovative solutions to make key, new commitments to provide Ukraine with urgently needed capabilities — especially air defence, armour and artillery ammunition.”
The United States recently announced USD 300 million more in security assistance for Ukraine. This money was available due to savings in the replacement of US 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 US aid to Ukraine, the Department of Defence statement read.
This contact group meeting was the first meeting of the capability coalition leadership group. That meeting discussed progress and looked to coordinate the way ahead for cross-cutting issues, the secretary said.
Leading this group are: Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.

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