« US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin called for Kiev’s military allies to increase their efforts to arm Ukraine ahead of what he called another ‘winter of war’, following the latest Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting in Ramstein on Tuesday.
« I urged allies and partners to dig deep and donate whatever air defence munitions they can, » he told reporters. « As Ukraine heads into another winter of war, our members of this group remain clear eyed about what brought us all together at Ramstein (AFB) again. »
Austin claimed that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was ‘betting that he can bide his time and wait us out’.
« He is wrong, » Austin added. « In Putin’s war of aggression time is not on his side. … Countries around the world continue to stand together to resist Moscow’s campaign of conquests. The Kremlin cannot outlast the resolve and the courage of Ukraine and its many partners. »
The Ramstein talks included over 50 defence ministers from around the world, discussing military supplies and support for Kiev in its ongoing conflict with Moscow.
« Our commitment to Ukraine as a free, independent and sovereign nation with its territory intact remains as ironclad as ever, » he said. « It also sets a precedent for the future in other parts of the world, a beacon for other nations and a clear message to any adversaries that the rule of law will always triumph over the rule of force as light always triumphs over the darkness. »
Austin was asked about domestic support and appetite for the conflict within the United States. According to US media outlets, a number of recent polls have found that a growing number, particularly on the Republican side, believe Washington is too invested.
« In terms of domestic support, we, we’ve enjoyed bipartisan support throughout up to this point, » he said. « We would hope that we would continue to enjoy that. In terms of whether or not countries will continue to support around the globe. Reminder, we… just there were 50 countries present in this meeting today. »
Milley reacted to the speed of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. Last month, some Western officials criticised the pace, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hit back, telling them to ‘shut up’.
« This counter-offensive has been going on for about 90 days and it is taking longer than planners in the war games, etc., with the Ukrainian planners and the war games anticipated, » Milley said. « But that’s the difference between war on paper and real war. »
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has claimed that the counter-offensive ‘has failed’ while Moscow has repeatedly condemned Western countries for supplying arms to Ukraine, arguing that they will only prolong the fighting and won’t affect the outcome.
The Ramstein meeting was also a first for Kiev’s new Defence Minister Rustem Umerov. He replaced Oleksii Reznikov, who was sacked earlier this month amid allegations of corruption at the ministry – although there was no suggestion the former minister was involved. »