Austin says U.S. weapons headed to Ukraine for possible 'spring offensive'

By Tony Bertuca / February 14, 2023 at 10:53 AM

Billions of dollars in donated weapons, including armored combat vehicles and long-range artillery, are making their way to Ukraine in time for a possible "spring offensive" against Russian military positions, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Austin, speaking alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in Brussels today, said Ukraine is looking to establish “momentum” against newly deployed Russian forces that are taking heavy casualties.

“We expect to see them conduct an offensive sometime in the spring,” he said. “Because of that we, all the partners in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, have been working hard to ensure that they have the armored capability, the fires, the sustainment, to be able to be effective. We believe that there will be a window of opportunity for them to exercise initiative.”

Austin, who noted that spring is “just weeks away,” highlighted the billions of dollars in donated Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Strykers, M113s, CV-190s, Marders and long-range artillery and munitions.

“We have a lot to get done,” he said. “It’s a monumental task to bring all those systems together, get troops trained on those platforms.”

The United States has committed $29.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Milley said the conflict remains a slow and grinding “war of attrition.”

“Russia has lost,” he said, but noted that Moscow still has the edge when it comes to sheer numbers, particularly from conscription.

The group of nations bolstering Ukraine, Milley said, remains “focused on delivering the capabilities committed and efficiently providing the training, the spare parts, the sustainment, logistics necessary for the full deployment” of the weapons being provided.