Pentagon reveals new int’l military aid for Ukraine, updated number of troops

“Everyone here understands the stakes of this war,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.

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The US has over 100,000 troops in Europe, the Pentagon announced Monday, adding that the latest Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting resulted in new military aid from the international community.

Five new countries joined the virtual meeting hosted by the Pentagon on Monday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.

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“Everyone here understands the stakes of this war,” Austin said during a briefing with reporters.

The new countries that joined the second meeting of its kind were Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ireland and Kosovo. That brought the number of participating countries to 47, according to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.

Milley, the top US military general, revealed that the US has over 102,000 troops in Europe, an increase from the 78,000 soldiers last fall.

Of the 102,000 troops, there are 15,000 sailors in the area and a dozen fighter squadrons in the air.

Austin said Monday’s virtual meeting was “highly constructive.” He said it gave the participants a chance to hear what was needed from senior Ukrainian officials. A third meeting will be held on June 15 on the sidelines of the NATO ministerial conference in Brussels.

Austin also commended a number of countries that pledged new arms packages for Ukraine as Russia continues its war on the neighboring country. He singled out Denmark for saying it would provide Harpoon Launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast.

The Pentagon chief said the Czech Republic would give Ukraine attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems.

Asked about US troops being deployed to Ukraine, Milley said Washington was still “a ways away” from doing that.

Read more: Blinken announces reopening of US embassy in Kyiv

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