Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Hosted Bilateral in Honor of His Excellency Rustem Umerov, Minister of Defence for Ukraine at the Pentagon
Dec. 7, 2023

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Minister Umerov, Rustem, welcome back to the Pentagon. I had a great visit to Kyiv two weeks ago, and it's good to see you again so soon, especially on Ukraine's Armed Forces Day. During my trip to Kyiv, I had great discussions with President Zelenskyy, General Zaluzhny, and yourself.

And one of the highlights was getting to meet some of the brave Ukrainian troops who have been fighting for more than 21 months to drive out the Russian invaders. I could see their determination. I could also see the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

As I said in Kyiv, the United States stands with Ukraine as you fight back against the Kremlin's aggression and cruelty. Ukraine has taken back more than half the territory grabbed by Russia since its unprovoked invasion began in February 2022. So we will stand with Ukraine for the long haul, and I'm confident that our allies and partners will be there as well.

Today, we'll build on our important conversations in Kyiv and we'll discuss Ukraine's strategic goals for the coming year and a long-term vision for a future force. To support Ukraine's immediate needs, I am announcing our 52nd drawdown of equipment and services from U.S. stocks. This package includes additional munitions for air defense, artillery, and tank weapons and small arms munition.

Now, at today's important Defense Industrial Base Summit, we discussed ways to strengthen partnerships among Ukraine and the U.S. defense industry. And all this just underscores America's commitment to a free and sovereign Ukraine, one that can defend itself today and deter further Russian aggression in the future.

Rustem, thanks for making the trip and I look forward to a good discussion today. Over to you, sir.

MINISTER RUSTEM UMEROV: First of all, thank you very much, Secretary. Thank you for meeting our delegation. A -- a past -- a great thank you to all American people and to American leadership and to -- for your personal contribution, for always helping us, always assisting us.

Also, thank you for organizing the defense industry conference that is taking a leading role in maintaining Ukraine's defense capabilities. We consider this conference, where we came as a big delegation, as a significant breakthrough in the development of our military-technical cooperation.

It's one of our key elements of increasing self-sufficiency in Ukraine. This will give the Ukrainian military industrial complex a source for peeling the parts of Russian militias in the global arms market and reduce the Russian influence on important countries.

We will -- also are working on reciprocal defense procurement agreement and also working to start (inaudible) work on security and supply arrangements.

We welcome and encourage U.S. defense businesses which want to open repair shops for their equipment and I mean manufacturing facilities in Ukraine by directing the development and enhance cooperation to start offering these businesses financing and interest.

We also are in dialogue in between Ukraine and U.S. and other countries on regard to vision of employing scaling across us for conventions in defense, Secretary.

Dear Secretary, once again, we would like to thank, on behalf of the armed forces which they -- we -- the -- we salute men and woman in uniform, for the -- all comprehensive assistance that United States is giving to us. Thank you.

SEC. AUSTIN: Well, thanks, Mr. Minister. It's great to have you here, and I look forward to a great discussion. Thanks, everybody.


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