International military assistance to Ukraine has accelerated, the Pentagon has said

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The Pentagon announced Monday that about 20 countries have pledged new security assistance packages for Ukraine, including new anti-ship missiles, additional attack helicopters and tanks.

Forty-seven countries have now joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, organized by the Pentagon to help meet Kiev’s immediate and long-term needs as it seeks to defeat a protracted Russian military offensive.

Austin on Monday called on Ukraine to supply a harpoon launcher and missiles to help Denmark defend its coast and to agree to send Czech Republic helicopters, tanks and rocket systems. He said other participating countries had donated artillery rounds and armored vehicles or agreed to provide training and assistance to the Ukrainians in maintaining the military system.

The group is scheduled to meet again on June 15 in the run-up to a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

Russia is trying to rebound in Ukraine as the chances of victory fade

In the past few months, the United States has sharply increased its presence in Europe, from 78,000 troops in the fall to 102,000 now, said General Mark A. Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who accompanied Austin.

He said 15,000 U.S. sailors are stationed in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea on 24 surface warships and four submarines, a significant increase from the six surface fighters of the last fall. The area also has 12 fighter squadrons and two combat aviation brigades.

President Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Ukraine before the Russian invasion in late February. He has repeatedly said that the United States will not take part in the war directly, even though US troops are training Ukrainian forces elsewhere in Europe.

Millie was quoted in a report published in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday as saying that the Pentagon was drafting a plan to provide special forces troops to help protect the US embassy in Kiev. He said the proposal was still there The defense is “at a relatively low level” and senior officials have not yet been briefed.

“At the end of the day, a presidential decision will be needed to re-deploy US forces in Ukraine, so we are far from that,” Millie said.

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