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On the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine War, the U.S. Secretary of Defense issued a statement in support of Kiev and announced additional military aid to Ukraine

File photo - U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
File photo – U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

WASHINGTON — Russia marked the first anniversary of its flagrant war of aggression against its neighbor Ukraine on Friday (Feb 24). U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (Lloyd Austin) issued a statement on the same day, denouncing Russia for launching this brutal war for no reason and for no reason, which resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Ukrainians and forced the displacement of millions of Ukrainians, and inflict tragedy and terror upon a sovereign state and member of the United Nations.

On the same day, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a new security aid worth $2 billion to Ukraine to commemorate the first anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

“Today’s solemn anniversary provides an opportunity for all who believe in freedom, rules, and sovereignty to recommit to their long-standing support for Ukraine’s heroic defenders while reminding us once again that the impact of Russia’s war extends far beyond Ukraine’s boundaries,” Austin said in a statement.

Austin pointed out that after Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States brought the world together to provide support and assistance to Ukraine while condemning and holding Russia accountable for its atrocities. Austin said that with the support of members of both parties in the U.S. Congress and the proud support of the American people, the U.S. government has provided a large amount of military assistance to Ukraine in the past year.

Austin said the assistance included 1,600 Stinger anti-missile systems, more than 8,500 Javelin anti-armor systems, 232 howitzers with more than 2 million rounds of artillery shells, 38 Haymus high-mobility rocket systems and their ammunition, equipped with a position of Patriot air defense missile system, eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and other key air defense capabilities, 109 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 31 Abrams main battle tanks, and 90 Stryker armored vehicles military vehicles.

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Austin praised U.S. allies, especially the 50 members of the Ukrainian Defense Liaison Group, which have also pledged $20 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine, including hundreds of tanks, thousands of other armored vehicles, and critical Air defense systems, hundreds of cannons, and other key defensive capabilities.

FILE PHOTO - U.S. and Ukrainian flags hang in front of the U.S. Capitol.
FILE PHOTO – U.S. and Ukrainian flags hang in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Austin also pointed out that when European security faced the most urgent danger since World War II, the United States, and its allies acted quickly, further strengthening the unity and strength of NATO. The United States sent 20,000 additional troops to Europe and deployed its first troops on NATO’s eastern flank for the first time permanently. Austin said that NATO is more united than ever, and defending every inch of the ally’s territory is the steely commitment of the United States.

“After a year of aggressive war waged by a permanent member of the UN Security Council, our allies and partners around the world stand united and unwavering. A historic threat, and a direct blow to the system of rules, institutions, and laws that the post-World War II world built at great cost to reject aggression and respect the rights of nations big and small,” Austin said.

An electronic display at UN headquarters lists the results of the UN General Assembly's vote in favor of a peace resolution for Ukraine. (February 23, 2022)
An electronic display at UN headquarters lists the results of the UN General Assembly’s vote in favor of a peace resolution for Ukraine. (February 23, 2022)

Austin pointed out that there may still be difficulties in the future, but the Ukrainian people are getting stronger and stronger, and the support of the United States and its allies to Ukraine will also be unswerving.

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“Putin thought Ukraine’s defenses were vulnerable, he thought America’s resolve would not last, and the world would turn a blind eye. He was wrong. A year has passed and Ukraine’s heroic defenders have not wavered, and we are grateful Their commitment to providing support for as long as they need it has not wavered,” Austin said.

Simultaneously with Austin’s statement, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it would provide Ukraine with an additional $2 billion worth of military assistance under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The aid will include an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAS, commonly known as a drone) and anti-unmanned aerial vehicle systems, electronic warfare detection equipment, and ammunition for artillery and precision strike systems.

A statement issued by the National Security Council of the White House noted that this new military aid is part of the long-term security commitment of the United States to Ukraine and will enhance Ukraine’s ability to resist and repel Russian aggression.

The Biden administration also this week began providing Ukraine with $9.9 billion worth of economic financing aid with the support of Congress.

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