☷Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III and Canadian Minister of National Defence Anita Anand Hold a News Conference
U.S. Department of Defense ( By Press Release office)
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PRESS SECRETARY JOHN F . KIRBY: Good afternoon , everybody . Welcome to today ' s press conference at the end of our bilateral discussion with the Defense Minister of Canada . I am going to moderate just like we ' ve done before , we ' ll start out with some opening comments by Secretary Austin , then Minister Anand . And then I will moderate the Q&A . We have a hard stop here in 20 minutes at 3 o ' clock . So , we ' ll do the best we can to get through as many questions as we can go being two on each side . But again , we ' ll have to see how far we can go . It would help if - - when you do ask me questions , you can limit your follow ups . With that , Mr . Secretary . SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J . AUSTIN III: Let me start by thanking the minister for making the trip to Washington . And I know that the past few days have been pretty busy , and I ' m glad that you could join us today . We just saw each other Tuesday in Germany at Ramstein Air Base . At this week ' s historic meeting of what is now the Contact Group on Ukrainian Defense . And Canada stepped up with an important announcement on armored vehicles and other vital capabilities for Ukraine . Madam Minister , that ' s just what we ' ve come to expect from Canada , and from your own leadership , and sense of moral purpose . So , it ' s no surprise that we had such a highly productive meeting today . It reminds us how much close friends and valued allies matter . And we know that we can count on the enduring partnership between the United States and Canada . Canada isn ' t just a great neighbor , it ' s also a true friend and a steadfast ally . And today , we ' re grateful for Canada ' s Resolute Support of the Ukrainian people after Russia ' s reckless and lawless invasion . Now moving forward from today ' s discussion , and from our meeting in Germany , I ' m proud to note that the president has now requested $16 billion for the Department of Defense to address Ukraine ' s self - defense needs in the crucial weeks ahead . This supplemental request includes $6 billion more for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative , which helps us to procure weapons and systems for Ukraine . And $5 billion for additional Presidential Drawdown Authority , which allows us to continue providing critical material from our own inventory . And another $5 billion to help us pay for the operational cost of bolstering NATO ' s eastern flank , as well as additional investments . For instance , it features something we call Critical Munitions Acquisition Fund , which will allow the department to purchase and establish a strategic reserve of vital munitions , like anti - aircraft and anti - tank munitions to surge for this crisis , and quite frankly , crises to come . So , we ' d urge Congress to approve our requests without delay . And we thank them for their tremendous support up to this point . We understand the urgency , and I know the Canadian people do as well , Madam Minister . So let me again express my appreciation to you and to Prime Minister Trudeau , and your colleagues for your announcement that Canada will send eight armored vehicles to support Ukraine . And let me applaud you for everything that Canada is doing to help Ukraine defend itself including your extraordinary efforts to train Ukrainian forces , through Operation UNIFIER . The United States and Canada are united in our admiration for the Ukrainian people ' s bravery , and our determination to help them defend their sovereignty , of course , as you ' d expect with all friends and neighbors , we had a wide - ranging agenda today . We also discussed our shared responsibilities for protecting our homelands through the NORAD command . We talked about our joint efforts to strengthen North American defense ties , including the need to ensure a stable Arctic region where international norms are respected . And we discussed how we ' re both working with regional partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat threats like transnational crime , and drug trafficking . And to better - - and to prepare better for humanitarian crises , and to build up climate resilience and advance initiatives on peace and security . The minister and I also spoke about our shared commitment to a secure and open Indo - Pacific . And that ' s why I ' m so pleased that last year for the first time , Canada participated in a cooperative Taiwan Strait transit with the United States . And we ' re going to find additional opportunities to work together on our shared vision of a secure , open and prosperous Indo - Pacific . As we face all these challenges , we ' re grateful to have Canada as our neighbor . Madam Minister , our two countries share a border . And we also share the core values of democracy and decency . And so , thank you for your friendship , your insights and your leadership . Again , it ' s great to have you here . Thank you very much . And over to you , Madam Minister . CANADIAN DEFENCE MINISTER ANITA ANAND: Good afternoon , bonjour . Thank you so much , Secretary Austin for your well , warm welcome on my first visit to Washington , D . C . , as Canada ' s Minister of National Defence . We ' ve just had a very productive meeting here at the Pentagon . The United States quite simply is Canada ' s most important ally , and defense partner . Our armed forces fought together to win two world wars . Since 1958 , our militaries have worked together every day to defend North American airspace through NORAD . And in recent years , Canadian and American forces fought side by side in Afghanistan and in the war against Daesh . Today , the world is facing the greatest threat to international peace and stability since the Second World War . [in French] The illegal war of Russia against Ukraine has killed thousands of innocent civilians and it is an attack against the international world order founded on the laws that protect all of us . Since day one of this attack , our Ukrainian friends have faced Putin ' s forces with unfailing courage and resolve . And Canada , like the United States , stands firmly with them . Since 2015 , the Canadian Armed Forces have trained over 33 , 000 Ukrainian personnel through our training mission , Operation UNIFIER . And since the beginning of this crisis , Canada has donated machine guns , pistols , sniper rifles , Carl Gustaf anti - tank weapons , hand grenades , precision cameras for military drones , and this equipment is making a real difference in Ukraine ' s war effort . Last week in conjunction with our American allies , we stepped up our support by delivering M - 777 howitzers to Ukrainian forces . And I can confirm that Canadian soldiers are now training their Ukrainian counterparts in the use of these weapons . Further , at Ramstein Air Base on Tuesday , an excellent and useful conference organized by my colleague , Secretary Austin . We announced that Canada will send eight armored vehicles to Ukraine in the coming weeks . And we will continue to supply Ukraine with the equipment that it needs to fight and win . At this crucial time for Euro - Atlantic security , Canada ' s commitment to the NATO alliance is unwavering . We recently deployed a second Frigate to NATO ' s maritime forces and added more troops and capabilities to the Canadian led multinational battlegroup in Latvia . [in French] We also authorized the deployment of 3 , 400 members of our personnel if NATO makes this request . And as we step up , to protect our allies abroad , we are also keeping our eyes on threats to the North American continent . As Minister of National Defense , I have been entrusted to lead Canada ' s efforts to strengthen continental defense and to deliver a robust plan to modernize NORAD , in collaboration with our American allies , and we will have more to say on this in the short term . Last month , our government tabled budget 2022 , which invests $8 billion in new defense spending , on top of the 70 percent increase in already planned spending , under our Defense Policy Strong , Secure , Engaged . We are now the sixth largest defense budget among NATO ' s 30 countries . And in the coming months , we will update this defense policy to reflect rapidly evolving challenges to global securities . To conclude , at this crucial moment , Russia is testing the will of Canada , the United States , and our allies and partners . Russia cannot redraw maps at will to suit its own ends . Russia cannot erode the rules based international order without consequences . Sovereign nations cannot be erased from the map . And NATO cannot be divided . In fact , as we saw in Germany this week , we are more united than ever before . And we will continue to stand with Ukraine . We remain prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory . And we will always do whatever it takes to ensure the security of our North American continent . Thank you , Mr . Secretary for your partnership . Thank you for your friendship on this , and shared defense issues generally . I appreciate it . MR . KIRBY: Okay . We ' ll take a few questions here . We ' ll start with Bob Burns , Associated Press . Q: Thank you . Mr . Secretary , in announcing the new request to Congress for billions more dollars to provide additional military assistance to Ukraine . The White House said that among the materials that you will be providing , or what they call , quote , "advanced air defense systems . " I wonder if you can say more specifically , what that refers to . And if I may also ask a little bit broader question that perhaps both of you could respond to . Which is , that , given the inherent and significant advantages that the Russian forces have in the Donbas including simple mass . I ' m wondering , you know , how can you get enough heavy , heavy weaponry to that area quickly enough to make a decisive difference SEC . AUSTIN: Well , before I answer your question , let me just say that I have it on good accord , that this may very well be your last briefing . And I just want to say on behalf of the Pentagon , and all of the people who work here on behalf of our military , I want to thank you for years of dedication , professionalism . You are the epitome of a pro . In many , many cases , our population has seen our military through your eyes , and those of your colleagues . But you ' ve set a great example for those who will follow you to emulate . So thanks a lot for everything you ' ve done . And God bless you for serving our country in the way that you have . On the issue of air defense , Bob , you know that air defense has been a critical aspect of this entire fight . Early on the - - the Russian sought to neutralize the Ukrainian’s air defense system , but obviously , were not effective in that effort . And so , because the Ukrainians had substantial air defense remaining - - air defense capabilities remaining , they were able to deny the Russians the ability to establish air superiority . The Russians , as you would imagine , will continue to try to find ways to take out all of their air defense capabilities . And we need to stay focused on this . We need to make sure that we ' re providing them the capability to replenish those air defense capabilities if they are taken out . So , this is a work in progress , we will continue to resupply them with the types of systems that you ' ve seen us provide them , short range , medium range , and most important , long range air defense systems . Those long - range air defense systems like the S - 300 , play a critical role . And if those are taken out , then we ' ll make sure that we ' re working with our allies and partners , to make sure that we ' re providing them additional capability , as quickly as possible . Q: So , it doesn ' t refer to a new type of American air defense system SEC . AUSTIN: We don ' t have a new type to announce , Bob . So , we will continue to use those systems that have been most effective . Q: And the broader question about getting enough heavy weaponry in the Donbas to make a difference quickly enough SEC . AUSTIN: Well , absolutely . Bob , you know , that ' s what we ' ve actually been focused on . And that was really a key element in the meeting that we conducted on Tuesday . We need not only to get capability there to them quickly , it needs to be the right kind of capability . And so , what will be decisive in this next fight is long range fires . And as we interact with the CHOD , and the Minister of Defense on a routine basis , these are the kinds of things that they are requesting . You know , they believe that long range fires will be key in our efforts going forward . And so , we are moving as quickly as we possibly can to provide them those capabilities . And I would point out to you , and I think you know , this , but the President signed a package of $800 million on Thursday . On Saturday , the first howitzer from that package showed up at the airfield . And so that ' s the speed of war that we ' re operating in . And in we ' ve encouraged our allies and partners to work with us to move as quickly as we possibly can . MIN . ANAND: Thank you . We are completely on the same page with our U . S . ally on the importance of the delivery of aid as soon as possible - - as quickly as possible . We had a number of conversations about the importance of acting in conjunction with each other . And we too quickly turned around our shipment of howitzers and are training Ukrainian troops with those heavy weapons right now . And on the broader question of the delivery of aid I ' d like to emphasize that Canada has two CC - 130s based out of Prestwick , Scotland , and we have carried over 100 - - over a million pounds of aid so far on behalf of a number of countries and this work continues every single day . So we , A , will continue to deliver aid including heavy weaponry as quickly as possible; and , B , will continue to work across the Allied partnership to deliver aid writ large to Ukraine . MR . KIRBY: Next question , and I ' m afraid it ' s going to have to be our last one given the timing where we are goes to Azeb Wolde - Giorghis , from Radio Canada . Ma ' am . Q: Thank you very much . I’ve got a first question for Madame la ministre . [in French] Hello , thank you for being with us today . You said you were reinforcing your alliance with the United States . Especially in the Indo - Pacific , equally in the Arctic and in terms of the invasion on Ukraine . Firstly , what is Canada’s red line Joe Biden has said this is going to be a very long war . And how are you reinforcing your alliances more precisely MIN . ANAND: [in French] Thank you for the question . Indeed , we agree with President Biden that it will perhaps be a very long war and we must stand together with our partners and allies to deliver military aid , lethal and non - lethal in Ukraine . That is a priority for our government . And we will continue to work with our partners and allies like the United States . There are other priorities for us as well as you mentioned in your question . Firstly , the modernization of NORAD here on our continent . What are we going to do We will continue to work on the surveillance systems to ensure that we have the technology and the interoperability between the two of us to ensure that we have a very strong and cautious relationship . And the other priorities as my colleague mentioned already include the Indo - Pacific . What are we going to do there We will continue to work together on the threats that we are facing there . And we need to consider the threats of China , of Russia , and ensure that we remain together in the face of these threats . And any others that may arise . Thank you . We will continue to work with our American allies on the war in Ukraine . In particular , our continued conversations on items like heavy weaponry on items like the sending of vehicles to Ukraine will continue to be part of our playbook in terms of how we respond with military aid to the war in Ukraine , working across the Allied partnership with all countries to deliver aid to Ukraine as quickly as possible . MR . KIRBY: I ' m afraid I ' m going to have to stop it there , folks . We ' re right at 3 o ' clock , and we did have a hard stop . So , I apologize we couldn ' t get to everybody . SEC . AUSTIN: She ' s pretty tough . She ' ll kick me in the shins if I don ' t keep her on time . Let me just let me just end . All kidding aside , she is incredibly effective and a great partner , who represents Canada incredibly well and has been completely engaged throughout on the Ukraine issue . And let me thank the Minister for spending some time with us here today . But let me also thank her for and Canada and for what you ' re doing to support the overall effort . So , look forward to working with you in the future . MIN . ANAND: Likewise , and thank you so much for hosting me here today .
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