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News | Nov. 30, 2022

Austin Thanks France for Assisting in Ukraine's Defense

By David Vergun DOD News

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."


A group of people sit around a large table.
Pentagon Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu meet at the Pentagon, Nov. 30, 2022.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 221130-D-XI929-0122A

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

"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. 

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

Sailor on a ship’s flight deck directs a jet pilot.
Mediterranean Ops
A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, directs a French Rafale fighter jet onto the catapult during multi-carrier operations between the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, Charles de Gaulle CSG, and the Italian Cavour CSG in the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 23, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel Wagner
VIRIN: 221123-N-MW880-1456A

"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. 

Soldiers fire a large weapon.
Exercise Foch 22
Soldiers assigned to Chaos Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment fire an M777A2 as part of Exercise Foch 22 at Plan De Canjuers Training Area, France, Oct. 7, 2022.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Skripnichuk
VIRIN: 221008-A-DU810-058

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.