The U.S.-led coalition of allies that have joined together in backing Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s ongoing invasion will mark the two-year anniversary as nearly 50 countries convene this week.

The 21st meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which the Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will host virtually from the Pentagon on Friday, comes amid a renewed fervor with Congress’ recent passing of the $95 billion national security supplemental measure. 

“We’re going into the contact group with new energy and momentum,” a senior defense official said today in previewing the meeting. “With the supplemental, the United States has reaffirmed its leadership in supporting Ukraine, and at the same time we are recognizing allies and partners who are asserting their leadership roles as well.” 

The final supplemental funding bill includes $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine in addition to urgent assistance for Israel following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terrorists, along with humanitarian support for Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and support for key regional partners in the Indo-Pacific.

President Joe Biden signed the measure into law on Wednesday.  

In his remarks at the White House ahead of the signing, Biden underscored the imperative to back Ukraine’s defenders who have continued to defy Russia since the country launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

He said Ukraine continues to maintain the “skill and will to win,” and underscored the United States’ commitment to quickly deploy much needed military assistance to Ukraine’s front lines.  

“In the next few hours — literally, the few hours — we’re going to begin sending in equipment to Ukraine for air defense munitions, for artillery, for rocket systems and armored vehicles,” Biden said.  

The Pentagon announced its first assistance package under the new funding soon after the bill was signed.  

The package, which is valued at up to $1 billion, is specifically aimed at giving Ukraine the ability to regain the initiative on the battlefield. It includes key capabilities to include air defense interceptors, artillery rounds, armored vehicles and antitank weapons. 

The announcement marks the 56th drawdown of military equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.   

In previewing the upcoming meeting of the UDCG, the defense official said the latest package adds to the flood of support for Ukraine by the broader coalition.  

“Collectively, members of the contact group have committed more than $89 billion in security assistance since February of 2022,” the official said.  

“In recent weeks, we’ve seen allies and partners continue to step up,” the official said. “For example, we’ve seen Czech Republic’s initiative to procure hundreds of thousands of artillery shells from third nations. We’ve seen Germany’s decision to donate another Patriot system and its initiative to donate urgent air defense donations. And we’ve also seen the U.K.’s announcement of its largest single package of military equipment.”

Beyond providing Ukraine with direct military assistance, the UDCG has undertaken initiatives aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s long-term defense through the formation of targeted capability coalitions.  

Thirteen members of the contact group are leading eight separate capability coalitions designed to drive Ukraine’s long-term force development. Those coalitions focus on critical capabilities ranging from air defense to artillery.  

Several allies have also signed long-term bilateral security agreements with Ukraine, indicating the coalition’s commitment to Ukraine’s success well into the future.  

“When Secretary Austin first convened the contact group, he said it reflected a galvanized world,” the official said in previewing the upcoming meeting. “Two years later, that’s still true.”

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