On Monday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted a meeting of over 40 nations to discuss military aid for Ukraine and announced afterward that Denmark will be providing Kyiv with Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
“I’m especially grateful to Denmark, which announced today that it will provide a harpoon launcher and missiles to help Ukraine defend its coast,” Austin said at a joint press conference with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Reuters reported last week that the US was looking for ways to get Harpoons and Naval Strike Missiles in Ukraine’s hands. The transfer of Harpoons marks an escalation in NATO military aid for Ukraine as the missiles have a range of about 300km, making Russian warships blockading the Ukrainian port of Odesa potential targets and widening the area where Kyiv can use Western-provided arms.
On Friday, a Ukrainian official said the US was preparing plans to destroy Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. “The US is preparing a plan to destroy the Black Sea Fleet … Deliveries of powerful anti-ship weapons are being discussed,” Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Twitter. The Pentagon denied Gerashchenko’s characterization of the US push to get advanced anti-ship weapons in Ukraine’s hands, likely out of fear of provoking Moscow.
Austin said that about 20 countries pledged new military aid for Ukraine at Monday’s meeting, which was held in a new forum known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. “We also heard some very welcome announcements this morning about even more security assistance for Ukraine. That includes some 20 countries that announced new security assistance packages,” he said.
Austin said that Italy, Poland, Greece, and Norway will be sending Ukraine artillery systems and ammunition, and he thanked the Czech Republic for providing attack helicopters, tanks, and missile systems. Austin said other countries made commitments for new training programs for the Ukrainian military.