WASHINGTON, January 7. /TASS/. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday told his Ukrainian counterpart Alexey Reznikov, when they spoke by phone on Friday, that he would encourage Washington’s allies and partners to provide Ukraine with air defense systems and other weapons, Pentagon Spokesman Pat Ryder said in a statement.
Austin and Reznikov discussed more than $3 billion in additional US security assistance to Ukraine, which includes Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, additional armored vehicles, artillery systems and ammunition, and other key capabilities, according to the statement. The assistance had been announced earlier on Friday.
"Secretary Austin reiterated his commitment to encouraging Allies and partners to make additional donations of air defense systems, combat vehicles, and other critical capabilities to support Ukraine in defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity for as long as it takes," the statement said.
Austin and Reznikov pledged to remain in close contact.
Ryder also said Austin on Friday spoke with German Federal Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht to discuss ways to "enhance security assistance to Ukraine" ahead of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany, that’s slated for January 20.
"Secretary Austin commended Germany's decision to provide additional military capabilities to Ukraine, including one Patriot air defense battery and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and the two leaders agreed to continue to coordinate closely with other allies and partners on efforts to assist Ukraine," the spokesman said in a statement.