tv Defense Secretary Joint Chiefs Chair Hold News Conference on Ukraine in... CSPAN September 8, 2022 11:47pm-12:22am EDT
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speaking at a news conference in germany. an update on the russian war in ukraine and help u.s. military is aiding in the fight. they spoke with defense ministers at 50 other countries working with the u.s. to support ukraine. these -- these other television providers -- >> up next, on c-span did it secretary lloyd austin and the chair of the joint chiefs of staff general mark milley speaking at a news conference in germany. an update on the russian war in ukraine and help u.s. military is aiding in the fight. they spoke with defense ministers at 50 other countries working with the u.s. to sue work ukraine. -- to support ukraine. >> good afternoon everyone. thank you for being here today. it is my pleasure to introduce
it means finding new and innovative ways to support ukrainian military and people as they defend their country, their lives, and their freedom. it is where we first launched this important contact group in april. and since the first meeting, the u.s. has increased our military assistance by fourfold. yesterday, president biden approved the latest assistance to ukraine. it is valued up to $675 million. and it is the for ukraine since last august. the new package approves 1.5 howitzers, artillery ammunition and missiles. humvees and armored ambulances.
nations around the world have stepped up as well. every time we come together to meet ukraine's self-defense needs, and every time contact group member announces another new security assistance package it is another sign of a free world's enduring support for ukraine and its refusal to accept russia's imperial aggression. i am grateful that we got to hear today from my good friends. ukraine's minister of defense and ukraine's deputy cheap defense. -- chief of defense. it is deeply meaningful to have
them here with us in person. and i want to thank my brave ukrainian colleagues for sharing their insights from the battlefield. ukraine's defenders have been putting the military aid that we have been sending them to immediate and effective use. look at how ukrainian forces have been using capabilities like rocket systems. in a broader push to reclaim ukraine's sovereign territory. russia is responding with a campaign of cruelty. putin's forces are shelling civilians and cities. and i am especially concerned that russia is creating combat conditions around ukraine's nuclear plant. that is deeply reckless and could have great consequences.
so we will not let up in our support for ukraine's defense. not today. not tomorrow. countries represented here today have shown resolve to support ukraine's sovereign right to defend itself. they have shown leadership in pushing to innovate, integrate, train, and to produce to meet ukraine's security needs for the long haul. we had good conversations today about ukraine's self-defense priorities. right now, ukraine urgently needs more artillery systems and ammunition and it also needs air defense, coastal defense and other critical capabilities. the u.s. has stepped up to meet those needs. i am glad that so many of our allies and partners have as well. beyond that, this contact group will keep coming up with new
ways to support ukraine for the road ahead. many countries continue to dig deep and provide equipment out of their own military stocks. that can mean purchasing new new equipment or even purchasing equipment from other countries that they can send to ukraine. countries in our contact group are also meeting efforts on training, and sustainment. and that will help ensure ukraine has the capabilities that it needs to succeed on the battlefield. now, and in the weeks and months ahead. i want to thank ukraine for establishing a basic training camp for new ukrainian recruits. getting more trained professional soldiers into the fight is especially key as russia sends more and more untrained soldiers into battle. and i want to thank our eastern
flank allies, namely poland, the czech republic and slovakia for rain their industrial basis to help meet self-defense needs. their around-the-clock efforts to manufacture new items are key -- new armaments are key to ukraine's success. we will move even faster and push even harder. i am proud to announce, in the next few weeks, in coordination with nato, the u.s. will host a special session of this contact group to bring together our directors. they will discuss how to equip ukraine's forces with the capabilities they need. we will have more on this topic and the details of the session soon.
it is a reflection of something that is central to this, we are working together to arm and train ukraine on the current fight. and we are also working together to help ukraine develop sustainable forces to defend itself and deter aggression over the long-term. ukraine is fighting for its life. it is fighting for its sovereign territory and democracy and freedom. but the state is far beyond the front lines. they reach us all. members of this contact group are not just helping defend ukraine. we are helping to defend the rules based international order that emerged after the horrors of world war ii. for the past 70 years, that has made the world more stable and free and prosperous. so the u.s. will continue to stand with ukraine today and tomorrow.
and along with our allies and partners, we will increase the momentum and we will work together to help ukraine build up its strength and its lasting ability to defend itself. thank you, and we now turn it over to the general. chair milley: thank you and on behalf of the ministers of defense today, i want to publicly thank secretary austin for his leadership. this is our fifth meeting and it has been consequential to the results that ukraine has achieved. we have had, today, i think it is around 50 countries represented here in this particular contact group. thank you for that. and i also want to publicly
thank ukraine's minister of defense and the chief of defense, my counterpart who i talk with very frequently several times a week in close coordination on their needs and requirements as we go forward. more than six months have passed since russia launched an illegal invasion in a free country in ukraine that has been free and independent since 1991. in the past six months, ukrainians have withstood brutal assaults in major urban areas throughout their country. they have sustained countless missile strikes and they have borne the brutal cost of tens of thousands -- of casualties. killed and wounded. many civilians have perished.
almost 15 million refugees and internally displaced persons. significant infrastructure in ukraine has been damaged. ukrainian people have suffered. tremendously. and yet, they remain free, independent, and a sovereign ukraine remains strong and free. because of the bravery of their people, the competence of their military, and the support of the international community. the group of countries that gather here today remain committed to ukraine, to the people of ukraine for their desire to live free. live free of russian occupation. free of russian violence. the vital work in this contact group is truly extraordinary. the russian invasion shatters international norms that we talked about.
the rule of law. the understanding that the powerful cannot attack the week. -- weak. russia's unprovoked invasion upended and so the world responds. ukrainians continue to employ the security assistance that they have been provided. the russians have achieved minor tactical success in various parts of eastern ukraine, but, so far russia's objectives have been defeated. the war is not over. but so far, russia's strategic objectives have been defeated.
that is due to their failures and due to the bravery of the ukrainian military. the bravery of the ukrainian people and the support of the countries that were in the contact group today. they have adjusted their strategy but so have the ukrainians, it is a war. there is give and take an action -- and action and reaction and counteraction. but despite being outgunned and outmanned, ukrainians have demonstrated tactical efficiency. and they demonstrated a will to fight -- fight for their own country, fight for their freedom. as assistance flows into the country, we observed the ukrainians effectively couple weapons systems have provided them with excellent command and control and achieve desired effects.
we see this playing out today with ukrainian recent operations. let me give you a brief battlefield update. as you know, the russia's attack began in 24 february. think in terms of the 24th of february until april the russia's tried to capture kyiv , -- into the donbas and potentially have an attack in odessa and those attacks failed. they did not seize the capital or topple the government. they did not seize odessa. so the beginning of april, russians adjusted their war plan and they consolidated forces in the east in order to attack an -- and sees -- hold odessa at risk.
they have been defeated in that. their operational objectives in that offense were not successful. they have not achieved all of the donbass and they have only crossed the river in the south. their operational aims in addition to their strategic aims have been defeated by a successful defense conducted by ukraine. at the beginning of this month, about the first of september, ukraine launched an offensive in order to seize the operational initiative. that offense of -- offensive is ongoing. it is in its early stages. it is too early to give a full assessment, but, today ukraine is using fires to shape ground maneuver as they continue their defense in the south. we are talking about the area north of the river in the
vicinity of paris on -- i will be happy to answer any questions anyone may have on that when we get to q&a. the discussions from today's meetings are not just about support for the current fight, but equally important is the long-term. thousands of aircraft weapons. harm missiles have been transferred to the ukrainians to help them out, in addition to that, small arms and nonlethal equipment. the u.s. has provided half a million rounds of 155 artillery as an example. the u.s. made a significant commitment but so have other
countries. all the countries are providing according to the need and ukraine is being well supplied with all the systems needed to defend themselves. we are seeing real and measurable gains from ukraine in the use of these systems. for example, ukrainians have struck over 400 targets with the high mars and had a devastating effect. russia lines of communication and supply channels are severely strained. it is having a direct impact on russian ability to sustain combat power. russia command control in the headquarters have been disrupted and they are having great difficulty resupplying their forces and replacing their combat losses. the war is not over, russia is a big country. and they have serious ambitions with respect to ukraine. so sustainment of ukraine for a
fight for their survival will be necessary. i know all of the members of the contact group will work together in the future, with our counterparts to continue to provide ukraine with what they need to continued their quest for freedom. the nature of war is often unpredictable, but we are committed shoulder to shoulder with ukraine to ensure they remain a free, independent, and sovereign country. thank you, secretary and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. secretary and chairman. our first question. >> mr. secretary, your administration has indicated they will go back to congress for additional funding for ukraine's war needs. and some lawmakers have already expressed skepticism about their
willingness to pass additional funding. can you explain to the american taxpayers why congress should approve additional funding for military aid to ukraine given that the domestic economy is still in a precarious situation . and for the chairman, you mentioned the counteroffensive, would you describe the progress that ukraine has made in the south as being modest or slower than expected? how would you describe it and are you concerned that now that they have -- that they might be overstretched in their capabilities? >> thank you. as you know, what we've seen, in terms of support from congress to this point has been broad bipartisan support. based upon the interest in the
support we've seen, i fully expect we will continue to receive broad, bipartisan support. because our leaders recognize how important this is. how important it is that we continue to help ukraine have the ability to protect its sovereign territory. so clearly, as we ask for resources, there's an expectation that we are able to lay out the rationale for those requests and we will certainly do that. but what i would say is, what we are seeing from ukraine, there -- thus far, ukrainians have put to good use the equipment that we provided them and we see those effects of the battlefield as we speak. the high bars are one example but there are other examples as
well. ukrainians have inflicted a significant damage to the russian supply lines and ammunition supply points and command and control nodes as they continue to shake the battlefield to be able to maneuver to retake some of their sovereign territory. so i think we will continue to see support and i appreciate that there is a expectation that we will lay out rationale for that. >> as i said in my opening remarks, i think it is a bit early to make a full assessment. what ukrainians are doing is a deliberate attack. they are setting conditions for fires. i do not want to go over
specific objectives of this week -- at this point, i think it is too early. but i would characterize it as a deliberate offense of operation that is calibrated to set conditions and sees objectives. their progress is steady and deliberate. and secondly overstretched, no i don't. this battlefield from kharkiv -- all the way down is a significant frontline trace if you will. there's fighting along that front. one of the areas you mentioned,
the counter defense in kharkiv that is being launched by ukraine, they have been fighting back and forth for the entire time. i do not think that they are overstretched per se, but there is a fight all the way from kharkiv down. they will continue the fight. . >> my question, is there a shift in the aim of ukraine contact group from initially enabling ukraine to defend itself to now supporting ukraine's efforts in regaining conquered territories
? >> is that question for me? ok great. so as the chairman described earlier, we have seen a shift in the dynamics in the battlefield over time. it started in the east and the russians attacking on multiple axes a serious battle unfolded around to -- around key -- around key. the fight shifted down to don -- donbass and it turned into a struggle. as ukrainians have acquired additional capabilities in terms of high bars and harm missiles and those types of things not just from us but from our allies as well, they began to change the dynamics on the battlefield.
again, they are exercising some initiative. we remain focused throughout on helping ukraine defend its sovereign territory. we remain focused on that. as they prosecute this fight, certainly they intend to take back some of the territory that russia has occupied in the south. and in the east. that is their focus. we will continue to support their efforts to defend their sovereign territory and protect their sovereignty. in essence, our goals have not changed, but we remain focused on the dynamics of the fight and what is needed to be successful in the fight. we endeavor to stay one or two steps ahead. >> our next question will go to jonathan.
new york times. >> thank you. mr. secretary, in your remarks today you mentioned you would like to bring together the national -- contact group member nations would you explain what that would entail and whether this coordination has comments about increasing emissions production -- and for industries of the 50 contact nations? >> i think all of our partners and allies are part of the contact group. they remain focused on ensuring that they have what is required in their stocks to defend their interest. but at the same time, they are aiming to contribute in a meaningful way to ukraine, not just now, but going into the future as well. so, we all believe that working together we can better
streamline things and we can shorten acquisition times and perhaps work on supply chain issues and learn from each other. we can increase interoperability by making sure that if i have a 155 howitzer and i am from one country, the rounds from another 155 howitzer can be used in that particular weapon as well. so interoperability is important not only in terms of ukraine effort but it is also important for nato at large. there's a number of things we can do to work together and share lessons and streamline processes. and shorten acquisition times where possible. so i think there is broad agreement that this is a
rio -- area that we can work on together and improve our ability to provide capability to ukraine, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future as well. >> we have time for one more question. >> my question is for the secretary of defense. ukraine recently asked for highly armed battle tanks like the german -- tank what are the reasons in this meeting that there was the topic and why don't you answer positively to that request? >> i am sorry kristin, i did not hear the first part of the question. >> the ukraine was asking for battle tanks, specially heavily
armed battle tanks to be delivered from germany, but today, it was no topic, what were the reasons for that? >> we see ukraine rightfully requesting help for armored vehicles throughout the conflict. and a lot of help has been provided, we have seen countries throughout the entire region move forward and provide tanks and armored personnel carriers to ukraine. the u.s. has provided a number of armored personnel carriers -- armored ambulances. the heavier wheel vehicles and other countries have stepped up as well. germany just recently provided some armored air defense capabilities to ukraine. so the entire community
continues to work together to provide as much as we can as fast as we can, and focus on those things that are relevant to the current fight but also provide some capability going forward there. it continues to be a work in progress but i can assure you that the entire team remains focused on this and germany stepped up to do its part along the way as well. >> thank you very much, everybody, we appreciate it.
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