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Pentagon: More Weapons Going to Ukraine05/24 06:10

   Nearly 50 defense leaders from around the world met Monday and agreed to 
send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including a Harpoon launcher and 
missiles to protect its coast, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly 50 defense leaders from around the world met 
Monday and agreed to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including a Harpoon 
launcher and missiles to protect its coast, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told 
reporters.

   And Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that 
"low-level" discussion is underway on how the U.S. may need to adjust its 
training of Ukrainian forces and on whether some U.S. troops should be based in 
Ukraine.

   The U.S. withdrew its few troops in Ukraine before the war and has no plans 
to send in combat forces. Milley's comments left open the possibility troops 
could return for embassy security or another non-combat role.

   The U.S. embassy in Kyiv has partially reopened and is staffing up again, 
and there have been questions about whether the U.S. will send a Marine 
security force back in to help protect the embassy or if other options should 
be considered.

   Asked if U.S. special operations forces may go into Ukraine, which officials 
have insisted they are not doing yet, Milley said that "any reintroduction of 
U.S. forces into Ukraine would require a presidential decision. So we're a ways 
away from anything like that."

   Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Austin declined to say if the U.S. will send 
Ukraine high-tech mobile rocket launchers, which it has requested. But Austin 
said that some 20 nations announced Monday that they will send new packages of 
security assistance to Ukraine, as its war with Russia reaches the three-month 
mark.

   In particular, he said that Denmark has agreed to send a Harpoon launcher 
and missiles to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend its coast. Russia has ships in 
the Black Sea and has used them to launch cruise missiles into Ukraine. The 
Russian ships have also stopped all commercial ship traffic from entering 
Ukraine ports.

   "We've gained a sharper, shared sense of Ukraine's priority requirements and 
the situation on the battlefield," Austin told reporters at the close of the 
virtual meeting with the defense leaders. "Many countries are donating 
critically needed artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems and tanks and 
other armored vehicles. Others came forward with new commitments for training."

   The U.S. and other countries have been training Ukrainian forces in nearby 
European countries.

   Austin added that the Czech Republic recently donated attack helicopters, 
tanks and rockets, and that Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland announced new 
donations Monday of artillery systems and ammunition.

   "The nature of the fight, as you've heard us describe a number of times is 
... really shaped by artillery in this phase," said Austin. "And we've seen 
serious exchanges of artillery fires over the last several weeks."

   Austin said that during the virtual meeting, Ukraine officials made clear 
their security needs. And he said those are consistent with what has been 
identified in recent weeks -- long-range artillery and rocket systems, armored 
personnel carriers and drones.

   Milley provided the greatest detail to date on the increased U.S. presence 
in Europe since Russia invaded in late February. Last fall. there were roughly 
78,000 U.S. troops in the region, and that has gone up to 102,000 -- including 
24 surface ships, four submarines, 12 fighter jet squadrons, two combat 
aviation units, and six Army brigade combat teams, along with their division 
and corps leaderships.

 
 
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