Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

U.S. Pentagon Chief In Kyiv To Discuss Defense Cooperation, Reforms

KYIV – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has arrived in Ukraine on the second leg of his three-nation tour to the Black Sea region aimed at underlining Washington's support for allies and partner states in the face of Russia's “aggression.”

“I'm here to reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations -- and to express our commitment to build Ukraine’s capacity to deter further Russian aggression,” Austin tweeted after landing in Kyiv on October 19 following a visit to Georgia.

During his stop in Ukraine, Austin is set to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Defense Minister Andriy Taran for talks aimed at underlining Washington's support of Kyiv in its conflict with Russia-backed separatists that has claimed more than 13,200 lives since April 2014.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula -- a move condemned by the international community.

But Austin’s trip will also serve as “an opportunity to discuss Ukraine’s progress with the implementation of defense and defense industry reforms needed to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” according to the Pentagon.

"We are encouraging their defense reforms to enable their resilience in the face of this Russian aggression," a senior U.S. defense official said, according to AFP.

"We need to enhance Ukraine's civilian control of the military," the official also said.

Ukraine, along with Georgia, seeks membership in NATO, which Moscow fiercely opposes.

Austin’s visit comes less than two months after both Zelenskiy and Taran traveled to Washington to meet U.S. President Joe Biden.

During the visit, the two sides finalized a Strategic Defense Framework that enhances defense partnership between the two countries’ defense ministries.

The Biden administration also pledged to provide Ukraine with an additional $60 million in military aid, which would bring the total U.S. aid for this year alone to more than $400 million.

On October 18 in Tbilisi, Austin signed a preliminary agreement to continue U.S. backing for Georgia’s military.

The current support agreement started in May 2018 and is to expire at the end of the year.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 and Russian troops have remained in Georgia's regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow opposes any effort to increase Georgia’s status within NATO.

After Ukraine, Austin will travel to Romania before heading to the NATO defense ministerial meeting in Brussels on October 21-22.

Related news
Putin To Visit India To Seal Weapons Deals

Putin To Visit India To Seal Weapons Deals

The trip comes as India has begun taking deliveries of Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense missile system under a $5.4 billion deal, potentially putting New Delhi in the crosshairs of U.S. sanctions.

Radio Free Europe

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Buys Small Texas Town.

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Buys Small Texas Town.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban purchased Mustang, Texas, a small town in Navarro County. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse a...

Parents of alleged Michigan school shooter arrested after manhunt.

Parents of alleged Michigan school shooter arrested after manhunt.

As families of the victims mourn, there are questions over whether there should have been more surveillance on the Crumbleys before they fled.

Suspect’s parents plead not guilty in Michigan school shooting trial.

Suspect’s parents plead not guilty in Michigan school shooting trial.

James and Jennifer Crumbley plead not guilty to all four counts of involuntary manslaughter, and have both their bails set to $500,000. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) ...

Mom of school shooting suspect cries when arraigned in court.

Mom of school shooting suspect cries when arraigned in court.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Michigan high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, entered "not guilty" pleas to all charges against them during their arraignment. #CNN #News

Thousands flee as Indonesia's volcano Mt Semeru erupts.

Thousands flee as Indonesia's volcano Mt Semeru erupts.

Indonesia's Semeru volcano on Java island erupted on Saturday (December 4), killing one person and injuring 41 as it spewed out huge clouds of smoke and ash, officials said. The deputy chief of Lumajang district, Indah Masdar, told a virtual news ...

Rep. Hudson: Wheels are coming off the Biden bus

Rep. Hudson: Wheels are coming off the Biden bus

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., criticizes the economy under President Biden and 'the worst job report of the year.' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encom...

1 132