- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 22, 2022

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host on Monday the second meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group, composed of nations pledged to assist Ukrainians in their fight against Russian invaders.

The first meeting was convened last month at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, but Monday’s meeting with be virtual.

More than 40 countries are expected to take part in the contact group meeting. All have provided security assistance to Ukraine and will discuss Kyiv’s future needs during Monday’s discussion.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will be a “key contributor” to the discussion and provide a battlefield update to the other participants, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

“They’re going to want to hear from (him) about the capabilities they continue to need,” Mr. Kirby said. “There will be a discussion … about how they can best fill those capabilities.”

The list of countries interested in taking part in the Ukraine Contact Group discussions has grown in the last several days. Mr. Kirby said they would like to get as many countries involved as possible.

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“You had countries from the Middle East (and) you had countries from the Indo-Pacific,” he said. “It wasn’t just Europe and it certainly wasn’t just NATO.”

Mr. Austin also will discuss the latest batch of security assistance that the United States will ship to Ukraine. President Biden has signed off an additional $100 million to provide Ukraine’s armed forces with additional capabilities.

The defense secretary has said he would like to have a meeting with the contact group every month.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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