Pentagon says more high-tech weapons are going to Ukraine
The United States withdrew its few troops to Ukraine before the war and has no plans to send combat forces there. Milley’s comments left open the possibility that the troops could return for embassy security or some other non-combat role.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has partially reopened and is in the process of being staffed again, and there have been questions about whether the U.S. will send a maritime security force to help protect the embassy or whether other options should be considered.
When asked if US special operations forces could enter Ukraine, which officials insisted they were not yet doing, Milley said that “any reintroduction of US forces into Ukraine would require a presidential decision. So we are far from something like that.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Austin declined to say whether the United States would send high-tech mobile rocket launchers to Ukraine, which it demanded. But Austin said about 20 countries announced on Monday they would send new security aid packages to Ukraine as its war with Russia hits the three-month mark.
He notably stated that Denmark had agreed to send a harpoon launcher and missiles to Ukraine to help Ukraine defend its coasts. Russia has ships in the Black Sea and has used them to launch cruise missiles into Ukraine. Russian ships also blocked all commercial maritime traffic from entering Ukrainian ports.
“We have gained a clearer and more shared idea of Ukraine’s priority requirements and the situation on the battlefield,” Austin told reporters at the end of the virtual meeting with defense leaders. “Many countries donate critically needed artillery munitions, coastal defense systems, tanks and other armored vehicles. Others proposed new training commitments.
The United States and other countries are training Ukrainian forces in neighboring European countries.
Austin added that the Czech Republic recently donated attack helicopters, tanks and rockets, and Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland on Monday announced new donations of artillery systems and of ammunition.
“The nature of the fight, as you’ve heard us describe many times, is…really shaped by the artillery in this phase,” Austin said. “And we’ve seen some serious exchanges of artillery fire over the past few weeks.”
Austin said during the virtual meeting, Ukrainian officials made their security needs clear. And he said these 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 details yet on the increased US presence in Europe since the invasion of Russia in late February. Last fall. there were approximately 78,000 American troops in the region, and that number grew to 102,000 – including 24 surface ships, four submarines, 12 fighter aircraft squadrons, two combat aviation units and six crews Brigade Combat Commands, and their Division and Corps Directorates.