US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, his NATO counterparts, and other partners will convene in Brussels Wednesday and Thursday to discuss additional security assistance to send to Ukraine and the military alliance’s force posture in Eastern Europe in light of the ongoing conflict.
The meeting is taking place weeks after the US Congress approved $40 billion in assistance for Ukraine and as Russia reinforces its efforts to secure the Donbas region.
The Ukrainian Defence Contact Group meeting will be held on Wednesday and will include representatives of nearly 50 countries that are all currently providing some type of assistance to Ukraine. The officials will review what additional security assistance they can provide to Ukraine immediately and in the long term as it battles Russian forces.
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the contact group on Ukraine will discuss supplying Kiev with heavy weapons.
Stoltenberg is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday morning followed by a working dinner of NATO defence ministers and partners.
The United States has been assessing what kind of assistance it can provide to Ukraine to meet its needs and whether other countries have the ability to meet those requests, according to US Ambassador to the United Nations Julianne Smith.
After the contact group meeting, Austin will join NATO defence ministers and several other non-member states late Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the alliance’s deterrence and defence posture in light of the Ukraine conflict. NATO allies will review what capabilities NATO needs in its medium and longer-term posture in Europe.
Announcements, if any, related to the alliance’s force posture in Eastern Europe will be revealed during the NATO summit in Madrid on 29-30 June.
Austin and Stoltenberg will hold a very brief press conference on Thursday morning before the start of the NATO defence ministerial meeting.
The NATO chief will conclude the two-day event with a press conference on Thursday afternoon.