Soon after the horrific Hamas attacks on Israel and the United States’ pledge to support Israel, some have questioned whether U.S. support for Israel’s defense would come at the expense of our commitment for Ukraine.
“Our support for Israel's security will remain ironclad,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. And “make no mistake. The United States will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
On October 11, the United States announced another security assistance package to Ukraine, worth 200 million dollars. At the same time, Secretary Austin noted at NATO’s 16th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, that “this coalition of some 50 nations of goodwill from around the world has rallied to commit more than $33 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.”
However, he said, “We all know better than to underestimate the degree of Putin's malice and frustration.”
“We should be ready for the Kremlin to again bombard Ukraine this winter with cruise missiles and drones. And we should expect Putin's forces to cruelly and deliberately put Ukraine's cities, civilians, and critical infrastructure in their gunsights,” he said.
“By turning civilians into targets, Putin hopes to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people and plunge them into bitter cold and darkness,” warned Secretary Austin.
“Putin hoped to demoralize the Ukrainian people. Instead, he demoralized the Russian military. Putin hoped to isolate Ukraine. Instead, he isolated Russia ... So in this war of aggression, nobody should assume that time is on the Kremlin's side.”
“We stand together. Putin stands alone,” said Secretary Austin. “And everyone ... understands the stakes and why Ukraine's fight to defend itself matters.”
“Ukraine matters because Putin's war of choice is a vast and urgent threat to security in Europe,” he said. “Ukraine matters because Russian atrocities against civilians offend our shared values and threaten the rule of law. Ukraine matters because Russian attacks on Ukrainian grain are deliberately inflicting hunger and suffering on innocent people around the world. And Ukraine matters because if great powers can invade their peaceful and democratic neighbors with impunity, it will claw away the rules-based order that has made the world so much safer since the end of World War II.”
“That is what has brought us together again,” Secretary Austin told the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. “Our support for the forces of freedom in Ukraine will hold fast, in any season or any storm."