Lloyd Austin: Supplies to Ukraine are not wasted, despite cabinet reshuffle in kyiv

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted Tuesday that nearly $45 billion in U.S. security aid to Ukraine has been accounted for, a day after Kiev fired its six deputy defense ministers as part of an anti-corruption purge.

“We ensure accountability for U.S. contributions through rigorous end-use oversight,” Austin said in his opening remarks at the 15th meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contracting Group in Ramstein, Germany. “We will continue to work closely with our Ukrainian partners to ensure that all assistance is used effectively and protected. »

Monday’s shakeup in Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s Cabinet comes ahead of his visit this week to Washington, where he hopes to reassure lawmakers on Capitol Hill that his government is not wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer-provided aid Americans.

Mr Austin praised Ukraine’s now former defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, whom Mr Zelenskyy fired earlier this month as part of the ongoing purge that saw the dismissal of his immediate subordinates on Monday.

“I would like to begin with a word of thanks to Oleksii Reznikov for his hard work and dedication, and for all he has done for a free Ukraine in a secure world,” said the US Secretary of Defense before saluting Mr. Reznikov’s replacement, the Crimean Tatar. lawmaker Rustem Umerov.

“It’s great to have you here. I really appreciated our call a few days ago,” Mr. Austin said. “I look forward to working closely with you and your team and I know everyone here does the same.”

SEE ALSO: Zelensky purges more officials as he battles rages in the East

Mr. Austin announced that M1 Abrams tanks promised to Ukraine would arrive soon and confirmed reports that the United States would join efforts to host F-16 pilot training.

He also condemned Russia for targeting Ukraine’s non-military infrastructure, such as port facilities and grain supplies. Moscow’s attacks destroyed about 280,000 tons of grain, enough to feed 10.5 million people for a year, he said.

“Russian attacks continue to threaten global food security and risk unnecessary humanitarian crises across the globe,” Austin said.

Members of the Ukraine Defense Contract Group have increased their donations of vital air defense weapons such as the Patriot missile, IRIS-T, HAWK and NASAMS.

“These defensive systems will continue to protect Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, including grain and energy supplies,” Austin said, urging other countries to dig deep. “We must continue to make considerable efforts to provide Ukraine with the air defense systems and interceptors it needs. “Russian attacks continue to threaten global food security and risk unnecessary humanitarian crises across the globe.”

Leave a Reply