Washington (The Times Groupe)- US defense chief Lloyd J. Austin said Wednesday that the US is doing everything possible to assist Ukraine with security, and advanced weapons systems will be handed over soon.
During a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels, US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark. A. Milley held a joint news conference and commented on support provided to the Ukrainian army.
According to Lloyd, the US is preparing to provide an additional $1 billion in security assistance, including guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) ammunition, 18 more M-777 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of 155-millimeter ammunition, Harpoon defense systems, and thousands of secure radios and night-vision devices.
As a result, the US defense chief thanked Germany, the UK, Slovakia, Canada, Poland, and the Netherlands for providing Ukraine with urgently needed ammunition and other systems.
“We also discussed how we can strengthen our mid-term and long-term support for Ukraine through training and sustained assistance,” he said, adding that the international community was “acutely aware of the dangers” that Ukraine faces as Russia resumes its war against it.
In his statement, Milley said that the “rules-based international order that has been in place since the end of WWII to prevent a great power war and to prevent large powers from conquering smaller countries with military force is put in jeopardy.”
The US and its allies will “collectively support” Ukraine in its fight against the “illegal war waged by Russia.”
“By the end of this month, we will transfer HIMARS systems, ammunition, and trained crews for deployment in the defense of Ukraine,” he said. “In a few weeks, the Ukrainians will have long-range rocket artillery at their disposal.”
“To date, we have trained 420 Ukrainians on the M-777 howitzers, 300 Ukrainians on the self-propelled M-09, 129 on the 113 armored personnel carrier, 100 on unmanned aerial systems and 60, most recently, graduating today, on the HIMARS,” he said.
Additionally, the US has provided up to 6,500 Javelins and 20,000 other anti-armor systems as well as 1,500 stingers and 700 switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems.
Russian forces have suffered a tremendous number of casualties in the battle of attrition, even though the joint chiefs of staff chairman argued that the numbers favored Russia and that Moscow had enough soldiers.
In response to a question regarding whether the number of weapons systems deployed to Ukraine would be sufficient, Llyod said one should take care when comparing the HIMARS and M-270 systems to other systems because the American systems target targets with pinpoint accuracy.
“These are precision ammunition and, with a properly trained crew, they will hit what they aim for and it provides some pretty good capability in terms of distance,” he said.
Since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, more than 4,432 civilians have been killed.
According to UN figures, more than 14 million people have fled their homes, including more than 7.3 million who fled abroad.