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US and Norwegian Defense Ministers discuss assistance to Ukraine

US and Norwegian Defense Ministers discuss assistance to Ukraine US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

US and Norwegian Defense Ministers, Lloyd Austin and Bjorn Arild Gram, convened at the Pentagon to discuss aid for Ukraine amidst its ongoing battle against Russia's extensive military aggression, according to Pentagon press service.

During the meeting, Austin highlighted Norway as "one of our most capable and long-standing allies."

"We know that we can always count on Norway, from your partnership with the Minnesota National Guard to the Norwegian-developed NASAMS providing air defense for our Ukrainian partners," Pentagon chief said.

Austin also emphasized the significance of the alliance between the nations "especially today as Putin continues his ruthless war of choice against Ukraine."

He expressed gratitude for "Norway's leadership in providing long-term assistance to Ukraine."

"We salute you for stepping up to co-lead the Contact Group's maritime Contact Group's Maritime Capability Coalition alongside the United Kingdom. You've also given significant support to both the Air Force Capability Coalition and the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Capability Coalitions," the US Defense Secretary said.

In turn, Gram said that "Russia's brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally upset the European security architecture".

"The situation in Ukraine is grave, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to the United States and to you, Lloyd, for your leadership in supporting Ukraine. Continued U.S. leadership is crucial. Northern Europe have stepped up and has to do even more, and we will do that," the Norwegian Minister said.

During the meeting, Austin also commended Norway for its plan to meet NATO's commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense this year.

Just a few days ago, on April 15, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the Norwegian Foreign Minister Barth Eide. The parties discussed preparations for the signing of a security agreement, as well as defense cooperation and strengthening of Ukrainian air defense.

On the same day, the Norwegian Defense Minister announced that the Fighter Aircraft Coalition would transfer a significant number of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, equipped with the latest weaponry capable of striking along the front lines.