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Top Ukraine, US Defense Officials Discuss Military Aid in Call

A man walks with the St. Andrew's Church on the background in Podil district in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18, 2023.
A man walks with the St. Andrew's Church on the background in Podil district in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18, 2023.

Three senior U.S. security officials held a video call with a group of their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss military aid to Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's chief of staff said Saturday.

"We discussed the further provision of necessary assistance to our country, in particular vehicles, weapons and ammunition," Andriy Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Yermak said he, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, top general Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and several other senior commanders and officials had attended the meeting Friday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, top military commander Mark Milley, and the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan represented the other side.

“The Ukrainian officials provided an update on battlefield conditions and expressed appreciation for the continued provision of U.S. security assistance,” according to a White House statement released Friday.

Yermak did not give details of specific requests to the U.S. side.

The meeting took place as Kyiv seeks to gather sufficient supplies of arms from its Western backers, of which the U.S. has been the most significant, to mount a counter-offensive and try to take back territory captured by Moscow last year.

Yermak added that Zelenskyy had joined the meeting at the end to give his views on the liberation of Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia since its invasion nearly 13 months ago.

"We briefed our allies in detail about the current situation at the front, combat operations in the most difficult areas, as well as the urgent needs of the Ukrainian army," Yermak said.

Ukrainian forces continued Friday to withstand Russian assaults on the ruined city of Bakhmut, the focal point for eight months of Russian attempts to advance through the industrial Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine bordering Russia.

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