At the gathering of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group held today at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III underscored the ongoing commitment to prioritize air defense support for Ukraine.
Austin concluded the meeting by urging allies and partners to generously contribute air defense munitions to assist Ukraine as it faces another challenging winter of conflict. He noted that this fifteenth meeting marked the first participation of Ukraine's new Defense Minister, Rustem Umerov, and expressed gratitude for his presence.
Austin emphasized the pivotal role of air defense in Ukraine's past successes on the battlefield, stressing that it remains essential for safeguarding Ukraine's airspace, its civilian population, its cities, and even innocent individuals far removed from the conflict zone.
He pointed out that the United States and partner nations have already provided Ukraine with various air defense systems, including the Patriot, Hawk, IRIS-T, National/Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), and Gepards, which have proven instrumental in protecting Ukrainian forces, civilians, and critical infrastructure.
Austin also highlighted additional support provided by the U.S. and partners within the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. This included the imminent arrival of U.S.-made M-1 tanks, which will complement the Leopard tanks provided by Germany already in Ukraine. Moreover, collective training for Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 fighter jet has commenced, with the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway expressing their intention to donate F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine.
Poland contributed additional mine-clearing equipment and over 100 armored personnel carriers, along with tens of thousands of munitions. Sweden recently announced a military aid package valued at over $300 million, consisting of ammunition and spare parts. Furthermore, Germany recently unveiled a $420 million package, encompassing ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, and other critical capabilities.
Denmark also stepped up its support with an $833 million package, which includes ammunition and armored resources.