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Pentagon cannot indicate release date for Defense Secretary after hospitalization

According to department spokesman Patrick Ryder, Lloyd Austin is on the mend and is in a good mood
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
© AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File

WASHINGTON, January 8. /TASS/. The US Department of Defense cannot indicate so far the exact date for the discharge of Secretary Lloyd Austin after hospitalization, Pentagon Press Secretary Patrick Ryder said in the statement released by the Department of Defense’s press service.

The Defense Secretary "remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but is recovering well and in good spirits," the Pentagon Press Secretary said, adding that Austin resumed his duties on January 5. "He has full access to required secure communications capabilities and continues to monitor DoD's day-to-day operations worldwide," Ryder noted.

"The Secretary spoke to [US] President [Joe] Biden yesterday," the official said, adding that Austin is also in contact with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown. "While we do not have a specific date for his release at this time, we will continue to provide updates on the Secretary's status as they become available," Ryder added.

The Politico newspaper reported earlier that the US Department of Defense kept information about Austin’s location in secret from the White House for three days. Austin was hospitalized on January 1 due to complications caused by a recent medical procedure.