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No time to waste with aid, U.S. defense secretary says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on April 26 that Germany’s pledge to deliver 50 “Cheetah” anti-aircraft systems will provide “real capability” for Ukraine. (Video: AP)
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The United States’ top defense officials made an urgent case for sending more weapons to Ukraine on Tuesday, telling officials from more than 40 countries that the coming weeks of war will be “crucial.”

“Time is not on Ukraine’s side,” Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the closed-door gathering in Germany, according to remarks shared with journalists. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised Germany’s promise Tuesday to supply Ukraine with “Cheetah” antiaircraft systems — part of a new wave of equipment from allies — and told reporters after the meeting, “We don’t have any time to waste.”

Russia’s renewed assault on eastern Ukraine is underway, and peace talks have yet to produce results, even as Western officials say Moscow has clearly scaled back its ambitions. The United States has seen “no sign to date” that Putin is serious about “meaningful negotiations,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called talks with Ukraine “dismal” even as he said Moscow supports a “negotiated solution.”

Here’s what else to know

7:10 p.m.
Headshot of Hannah Knowles
Hannah Knowles: American diplomats are returning to Ukraine with “day trips” from Poland to the western city of Lviv, State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news briefing. The first trip was Tuesday, he said, and officials are “accelerating planning” to return to the capital, Kyiv.“It is something we want to do as soon as it is responsible for us to do so,” Price said. The United States closed its embassy in Ukraine before Russia invaded.
Hannah Knowles, General assignment reporter