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US says 20 nations pledging new arms shipments for Ukraine

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May 24, 2022 - 06:32 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – Roughly 20 nations have pledged to provide Ukraine with new arms shipments to help it defend against Russia’s assault, the US announced on Monday.

The new packages include “critically needed” artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems, tanks and other armored vehicles, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters at the Pentagon. Other nations have committed to training Ukrainian troops, and helping Kyiv sustain its existing armaments.

Austin pointed explicitly to Denmark, which announced earlier on Monday its decision to supply Ukraine with a Harpoon anti-ship launcher and associated missiles, and the Czech Republic, which the defense secretary said is providing “substantial support,” including attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems.

Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland will provide Ukraine with artillery systems and ammunition, he added.

In addition to providing Kyiv with billions of dollars in military equipment and training, the US has been coordinating amongst allies the flow of international arms and support to Ukraine.

Part of that effort has included a second international forum for Ukraine, known officially as the Ukraine Contact Group Meeting, focused on establishing future arms shipments to Kyiv. Over 40 nations were included.

At least 3,930 civilians have been killed and 4,532 injured since Russian launched its war on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is believed to be significantly higher.

Nearly 6.5 million people have fled to other countries, while over 7.7 million people have been internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.

In addition to aiding Ukraine directly, the US has also increased its troops presence in Europe in response to Russia’s war. There are now some 102,000 troops station in Europe, a 30% increase from the 78,000 that were present before the war, according to Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

Asked about US President Joe Biden’s comments that the US would intervene military if China were to attack Taiwan, a major departure from past comments in which the US refrained from such an explicit statement of military commitment to Taiwan’s defense, Austin maintained Washington’s policy has not changed.

“As the president said, our One China policy has not changed,” said Austin. “He also highlighted our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act, to help provide Taiwan the means to defend itself. So again, our policy has not changed.”

The Taiwan Relations Act commits the US to supplying Taipei with the resources it needs to defend against a potential attack, but it does not explicitly commit the US to militarily stepping in if Taiwan is invaded by China.

Asked if he would support sending US forces in to defend against a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “I will render my advice at the moment in time to the president and the secretary of defense.”

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