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Ramstein-19 to be held online due to Pentagon chief's hospitalization

Ramstein-19 to be held online due to Pentagon chief's hospitalization Photo: Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin (Getty Images)

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin canceled his trip to Brussels, where the 19th meeting of the Ramstein-style contact group was supposed to take place, due to urgent hospitalization, reports Reuters.

According to the source, Austin was to personally chair a meeting of the Contact Group on Defense of Ukraine in Brussels, after which a meeting of NATO defense ministers should take place.

However, on Sunday afternoon, Austin handed over his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. And the meeting on Ukraine's defense needs will be held virtually.

What preceded

The night before, it became known that the 70-year-old head of the US Defense Ministry, Lloyd Austin, was hospitalized again due to bladder problems. As the press secretary of the Pentagon, Pat Ryder, said, all the governing structures of the state have been informed about the situation.

Before that, on January 15, the minister was discharged from the hospital, and in a few days he returned to full-time work.

Earlier in December of last year, the head of the Pentagon was diagnosed with prostate cancer. On January 1, Lloyd Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to complications from a routine medical procedure.

Let's add that the Pentagon then released information about this only 4 days after the minister was taken to the hospital. US President Joe Biden said it was a mistake on Austin's part not to report his hospitalization. Austin later apologized during a televised briefing. On February 29, he is scheduled to testify before Congress about the situation.

What is known about Ramstein-19

Earlier it became known that the defense ministers of the members of the North Atlantic Alliance will meet at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 15, 2024. The meeting will be chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

A separate meeting of the Contact Group on the Defense of Ukraine, organized by the USA, will be held at the NATO headquarters on February 14.