U.S. pledges continued support to NATO allies against Russian aggression

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Latvia Minister of Defence Andris Sprūds stand prior to the playing of the U.S. and Latvia national anthems during a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2024. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza)

In a significant reaffirmation of the United States’ solidarity with its NATO allies, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, during a meeting with Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds today, emphasized America’s unwavering support in the face of Russian aggression. Austin praised Latvia for its ongoing efforts to aid Ukraine amidst the continued invasion by Russian forces under President Vladimir Putin and called on all allies to maintain their support.

During the meeting at the Pentagon, Austin remarked, “You’re here at a vital time for European security and global security. Two years ago, Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, wrongly assuming that Ukraine’s allies would falter. Instead, we have stood strong against Putin’s aggression, collectively aiding Ukraine in its resistance against the Kremlin’s unprovoked war.”

Austin underscored the importance of perseverance: “We must not let up.”

This dialogue followed an announcement on Tuesday that the Defense Department will provide additional military aid to Ukraine, amounting to up to $300 million. This package aims to bolster Ukraine’s air defense and anti-tank capabilities, marking the first such assistance approved this year, achieved through favorable negotiations by the Army for previously supplied items.

The provision of further U.S. aid arrives as discussions continue on Capitol Hill regarding President Joe Biden’s plea for continued military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. Despite hurdles, the Senate last month passed a supplemental funding measure that not only includes further assistance for Ukraine but also addresses the urgent needs of Israel following an attack by Hamas on October 7, and humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Moreover, the funding is designed to deter Iranian-backed militia attacks, protect vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi rebels, and enhance U.S. deterrence capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, showcasing a comprehensive approach to addressing global security challenges.–Web Desk