The United States is fully committed to continuing its support for Ukraine as that country battles for survival in the face of Russian aggression, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said today.

Ryder spoke after Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in the Pentagon. Austin told Umerov the United States will soon announce a new security assistance package for Ukraine that’s valued at approximately $2.3 billion.

The package will be a combination of presidential drawdown authority and Ukraine security assistance initiative funding. Ryder said the package will provide urgently needed air defense interceptors to protect Ukrainian cities and civilians from Russia’s unrelenting aerial attacks. It will also provide artillery and antitank weapons to support the Ukraine’s frontline needs. 

Umerov provided Austin with an update on the dynamics on the ground in Ukraine. “What we continue to see on the ground is it remains a tough fight,” Ryder said. “Russia continues to attempt to take ground, and the Ukrainians have done a good job of holding the line.”

The Russians took advantage of the break in U.S. funding to Ukraine to try and take ground from the country. While they took some territory, it was at enormous cost, and they “really did not accomplish that much in terms of the amount of geography,” Ryder said. “So, what we see now is the Ukrainians, in large part empowered by the security assistance that’s been rushed in, continue to hold the line. We will continue to support them in their efforts to defend themselves.” 

Ryder also gave a preview of next week’s NATO summit in Washington. The meeting marks the 75th anniversary of the defense pact. “The secretary will join President Joe Biden [in] celebrating this milestone while advancing key policy priorities,” the general said.

Priorities at the summit will include ensuring the implementation of new NATO plans for critical deterrence and defense, enhancing long-term support for Ukraine, and fostering Ukraine’s future NATO membership.  

During the summit, the secretary will work to ramp up defense industrial production and ensure adequate defense investments from allies. He also will work to deepen practical cooperation between NATO and its Indo-Pacific partners, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, Ryder said. “Since its creation 75 years ago, NATO has been the greatest defensive alliance in human history. Next week[‘s] summit underscores the [United States’] unwavering commitment to NATO, and the alliance’s critical role in maintaining global security and stability.”

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