- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Pentagon Chief Set to Host Ukraine-Related Defence Ministerial in Germany

© AP Photo / Alex BrandonIn this Aug. 18, 2021, photo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pauses while speaking during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington.
In this Aug. 18, 2021, photo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pauses while speaking during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.04.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday will hold a Ukraine-related ministerial meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany with more than 20 counterparts from allied and partner countries just as Washington continues to escalate security aid to Kiev.
The US Defense Department announced it plans to organize a meeting of allied and partner nations’ defense ministers on Thursday and said that some 40 invitations were sent, including to countries that are not members of NATO.
On 22 April, Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said the meeting is not being done under the NATO umbrella and the invited nations will take part "in a sovereign" way and not as part of the alliance. At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will take part in the meeting.
Kirby explained that the United States sees the upcoming meeting as the beginnings of a discussion with like-minded nations about long-term defense relationship that Ukraine will need going forward, Kirby said.
The meeting is not expected to result in US posture changes in Europe, but Austin hopes it will lead to some kind of a framework for getting specific decisions on Ukraine going forward when the conflict in the country ends, Kirby said.
Austin will head to the Ramstein Air Base from Ukraine where he and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The visit to Kiev was the first by high-level US representatives since the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February.
While in Kiev, Blinken and Austin announced that US diplomats were going to return to Ukraine starting this week and added that Washington will provide Kiev with more than $700 million in additional military aid.
The ministerial meeting will take place as the United States is attempting to ramp up Ukraine’s military capabilities amid Russia’s special military operation, now in its second phase.
Last week, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States will be providing Ukraine with another $800 million security aid package. The eighth US security aid package for Ukraine includes 72 Howitzers, 144,000 of artillery rounds, more than 121 Phoenix tactical drones, parts and other equipment.
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