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US Def Sec In Stockholm Ahead Of Ukraine Contact Group Meeting


US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is presently holding talks with his Swedish counterpart Pal Jonson, with a joint presserdue to take place at 1330CET (0730ET, 1230BST). Sweden remains on the outside of the NATO alliance looking in as the Turkish gov't continues to withhold approval for the Nordic nation's accession due to Stockholm's refusal to extradite Kurdish dissidents that Ankara views as terrorists.

  • Austin's visit comes ahead of a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group at Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday 21 April. The main topic of discussion at the meeting is set to be efforts to boost arms shipments to Ukraine as it prepares for a spring offensive against Russian invading forces. This will also be one of the first opportunities for Austin to address allies in person following the embarrassing leak of classified Pentagon files earlier in April.
  • On 16 April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy voiced his frustration with the seemingly slow provision of ammunition to his country's forces by its western allies, stating that “Every time we hear that the promised supply of weapons is delayed, every time there are doubts about the type of weapons for Ukraine, about the range or other quality characteristics — every time it means that Ukrainian soldiers are giving their lives,”

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