US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that for the war in Ukraine to stop, Russian President Vladimir Putin “needs to make a decision to end this conflict.”

“I think the first step is to end this conflict. And I think that what needs to happen to cause the conflict to come to an end is Mr. Putin. He’s the person that started it,” Austin said.

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Putin’s choice to attack Ukraine, according to Austin, was “unjustified.” He went on to say that it will be Putin’s option to “to de-escalate and then go back to the negotiating table.”

“And we really all would like to see that happen,” Austin said. 

Austin began his press conference on Tuesday by praising the countries that have come to Ukraine’s aid, saying, “We don’t have any time to waste.”

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“The work that we’ve done together in record time has made a huge difference on the battlefield. President (Volodymyr) Zelensky made that clear when we met Sunday in Kyiv. And countries all around the world have been stepping up to meet Ukraine’s urgent needs,” Austin said. 

Austin informed that Germany just stated today that it will provide Ukraine 50 anti-aircraft armoured vehicles. This statement came in just one day after the British government stated that it will also equip Ukraine with more anti-aircraft weapons, according to Austin.

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“And so that’s important. We’re seeing more every day. And I applaud all the countries that have risen and are rising to meet this demand. The briefings today laid out clearly why the coming weeks will be so crucial for Ukraine,” Austin said. “So we’ve got to move at the And I know that all the leaders leave today more resolved than ever to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and atrocities. And I know that we’re all determined to do even more to better coordinate our efforts.” 

Austin claimed that the allies would meet once monthly to discuss the Ukraine war strategy.