Good day, esteemed attendees. Thank you for joining us for the 15th convening of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. It is a pleasure to see both familiar and new faces among us today.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Oleksii Reznikov for his unwavering dedication and contribution to the cause of a free Ukraine within a secure global landscape.
A warm welcome to Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s new Minister of Defense. I greatly enjoyed our recent conversation and the productive meeting we just concluded. I eagerly anticipate collaborating closely with you and your team, as I am sure everyone here does.
Amidst our gathering, Ukrainian forces are fiercely fighting to reclaim their sovereign territory from entrenched Russian invaders.
Through Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive, noteworthy progress has been made. The brave Ukrainian troops are successfully breaching the heavily fortified lines of Russia’s aggressive army.
These advancements are a testament to the indomitable spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people. However, it is essential to acknowledge that Ukraine’s recent gains depend heavily on the support and capabilities provided by the members of this Contact Group. Our collective commitment will prove indispensable in the current battles and the enduring challenges that lie ahead.
To date, the United States and Ukraine’s global partners have committed over $76 billion in direct security assistance to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
These contributions reflect the unwavering resolve of the 50 nations gathered here. Together, we ensure Ukraine receives the necessary assistance at the right time, effectively supporting its ongoing counteroffensive and enabling the establishment of a robust defense force to deter any future aggression. Our steadfast sense of purpose remains unwavering.
Ladies and gentlemen, history will unmask the utter recklessness, cruelty, and unprovoked invasion that Putin initiated against his peaceful neighbor.
In this war, time is not on Putin’s side. A dictator who embarks on an imperial war of choice never has time on their side. Aggression is perpetually met with resistance.
The people of Ukraine are engaged in a rightful act of self-defense. Their steadfastness stems from a desire to safeguard their futures and preserve their freedom. They possess the courage and perseverance necessary to outlast the Kremlin.
Throughout this tragic conflict, Putin has sought to demoralize the Ukrainian people, but in doing so, he has inadvertently demoralized the Russian military. The Kremlin’s flagrant aggression has isolated them, contrasting with the presence of 50 proud nations gathered around this table united in defending Ukraine and upholding the rules-based international order. In contrast, the Kremlin finds itself in the company of Iran and North Korea.
Meanwhile, the United States, our allies, and partners have consistently demonstrated unwavering support.
Make no mistake, we stand firmly with the Ukrainian people for the long haul.
Subsequent to our previous meeting, the United States has committed additional security assistance packages exceeding $2 billion. These packages include urgently needed air defense systems, ammunition, and mine-clearing equipment.
To ensure accountability, robust end-use monitoring is implemented to track the utilization and safeguarding of U.S. contributions. We will continue working closely with our Ukrainian partners to ensure effective and responsible usage of all assistance provided.
I am delighted to announce that the M1 Abrams tanks, previously committed by the United States, will soon arrive in Ukraine.
With each passing day, Russia’s prolonged war reveals its increasingly malicious nature. Russian assaults extend beyond the battlefield, inflicting untold human suffering.
In recent months, Russia has relentlessly targeted Ukraine’s ports and vital grain infrastructure. These attacks have already destroyed at least 280,000 tons of grain, equivalent to feeding approximately 10.5 million individuals for a year. Russia’s actions jeopardize global food security and create unnecessary humanitarian crises worldwide.
In response, this Contact Group has answered the call by providing donations of Patriot, IRIS-T, HAWK, NASAMS, SAMP/T, and other air-defense systems. These defensive systems will continue safeguarding Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, including grain and energy supplies.
As I have emphasized before, air defense becomes an instrument of saving lives. I implore this assembly to prioritize ground-based air defense systems for Ukraine. We must relentlessly pursue the provision of air-defense systems and interceptors corresponding to Ukraine’s needs.
Furthermore, amid the ongoing battle, we must continue to prioritize the provision of necessary ammunition, such as 155-millimeter rounds, empowering Ukraine to sustain its fight.
Simultaneously, we are diligently planning for the future, aiming to enhance Ukraine’s ability to deter future aggression and secure its sovereign territory.
Let us briefly touch upon the long-term capability coalitions formed by this Contact Group. These coalitions enhance Ukraine’s resilience against Russian aggression. Grateful appreciation goes to fellow friends present today, including Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Poland, who have taken the lead in these capability coalitions. Their efforts particularly target specific capabilities, such as Leopard tanks, F-16 training, and Information Technology. We anticipate receiving updates on their commendable work in due course.
To further augment this group’s long-term support for Ukraine, I am pleased to announce that the United States will supplement the F-16 training coalition by providing U.S.-based training.
This announcement epitomizes the focal theme for today’s meeting: the future of Ukraine’s armed forces and the continuous evolution of this coalition to assist Ukraine in constructing a credible and capable combat force for the long term.
Our commitment to Ukraine transcends a singular campaign; it embodies our commitment to long-term security of Europe and beyond. It stands as a testament to our shared values of freedom and sovereignty.
This Contact Group has accomplished an incredible amount for the people of Ukraine and must continue evolving to sustain our unwavering support throughout the prolonged struggle.
Let us remain united, resolute, and steadfast in our determination to defend Ukraine and uphold a world where aggression does not reap rewards.
We extend our gratitude to all those present. Now, we will allow a moment for our friends from the media to depart.