Austin Thanks France for Assisting in Ukraine’s Defense

The United States is grateful for France’s contribution to Ukraine’s fight to defend itself, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. « We’re committed to working with you to help keep that support strong. »

Nov. 30, 2022 | By David Vergun — DOD News

Austin hosted an enhanced honor cordon and meeting, welcoming French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu to the Pentagon today.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu participate in a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Nov. 30, 2022 — DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders

« Russia has continued its war of choice against Ukraine and the Kremlin’s forces have shown deliberate cruelty, targeting Ukraine’s civilians and civilian infrastructure, » he said.

« Ukrainian citizens and troops have responded with the magnificent defiance that the world now knows so well. And, in the face of Russia’s aggression, NATO is more united and more resolute than ever, » Austin said.

Spotlight: NATO

America is proud to have France as it’s oldest ally, he pointed out. 

Ionian Sea — (Nov. 23, 2022) — A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, directs a French Rafale fighter jet — Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner

« Our alliance with France isn’t just grounded in our common strategic interests. It’s also rooted in our shared understanding of the importance of diplomacy and in our determination to strengthen the rules-based international order forged at such great cost after World War II, » he said. 

The Defense Department is pleased to renew the 2016 statement of intent between the two nation’s militaries, he said.  

« This document upholds our commitments to counterterrorism across the globe, from Africa to the Indo-Pacific, and bolsters our cooperation in the space and cyber domains and it builds up our resilience against hybrid threats, » Austin said. 

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to Chaos Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment fire an M777A2 as part of Exercise Foch 22 on Oct. 7 2022 at Canjuers Training Area, France. Exercise Foch is a live artillery exercise conducted between 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade and the French 35e Régiment d’Artillerie Parachutiste at Canjuers Training Area. The objective is to demonstrate lethality and interoperability between U.S. and French airborne artillery units. The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance — U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Skripnichuk

Lecornu said he grew up in Normandy, France, where every June 6, American, British and French veterans would commemorate the D-Day landings of 1944. 

France has a duty to remember those who sacrificed to liberate Europe and France has a duty to uphold freedom and democracy around the globe and to be a reliable partner, he said. 

Lecornu thanked Austin for helping coordinate Ukraine’s defense planning among NATO partners. 

Spotlight: Support for Ukraine 

News Release: Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Meeting With France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu