Starlink an ‘Essential Part’ of Ukraine Infrastructure
US to Send More Air Defense Systems to Ukraine
US defense officials said they will send Ukraine more air-defense systems to defend themselves against Russia’s continued air strikes.
During a news conference, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the 50 countries present at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting in Brussels “made progress” in their discussions about Ukraine’s security needs.
He said the united resolve of these allies to support Ukraine was “heightened” by the “deliberate cruelty” of Russia’s latest attack against Ukrainian cities.
The missile strikes on targets with no military purpose “again reveals the malice of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war of choice.”
Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley said Russia’s continued escalation of tensions in Ukraine is only costing the Kremlin and the Russian people “more and more” as the war continues.
Milley also said Russia’ deliberate, indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure “with the purpose of harming civilians” constitute a war crime.
He said the US and its allies will continue to protect the rules-based international order to ensure Ukraine remains a free, independent and sovereign nation.
Secretary Austin said new air-defense systems will be provided to Ukraine “as fast as we can physically get them there” to protect against Russian aerial attacks.
“We’re also going to try to provide additional ammunition to the existing systems that the Ukrainian forces are using,” he said.
He said Ukraine most needs long-range fires, air defense systems and artillery.
Austin said earlier in the news conference that HIMARS or “High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems” have “changed the dynamics of the war” and helped Ukrainian forces with their counteroffensive.
Allies and partners will continue to “rush in” capabilities to help Ukraine in their current fight.
As the conflict continues to evolve, Austin said allies will continue their commitment to Ukraine’s long-term defense capabilities. He said he is confident Ukraine will continue to be effective on the battlefield throughout the winter.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure they have what’s required to be effective,” adding that Ukraine has been “very effective” in taking back territory from the Russians in the east and south.
General Milley said Ukraine is asking for integrated air missile defense system, which he said the US can provide.
“It doesn’t control all the airspace over Ukraine, but designed to control priority targets that Ukraine needs to protect,” he said.
Milley said Ukrainian forces have used the systems they have effectively to deny Russia air superiority which has in turn denied Russian ground maneuvers.
Specifically, Ukraine is asking for Hawk or improved Hawkeye system.
“That’s a medium-altitude, medium-range system,” Milley said. “It’s an older system, but it’s quite effective.”
He added that countries need to “chip in” to help rebuild and sustain the integrated missile defense system.
Many countries have a wide variety of systems, Milley said, adding that they need to get the systems together, deploy them, get Ukrainian forces trained and linked with command and control.
Milley said this is complicated, but achievable and will take some time.