US defense chief urges nations to dig deep and give Ukraine more much-needed air defense systems

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is urging defense leaders to “dig deep” and provide more air defense systems for Ukraine, to help the country block increasing barrages of Russian missiles. Although allies say they will discuss how they can best help Ukraine’s counteroffensive, they appear no closer to commitments on the longer-range missiles that Kyiv’s leaders insist they need. Austin spoke during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. It is made up of defense officials from more than 50 nations and is the main forum for raising contributions of weapons, other equipment and training for Kyiv’s war effort. Several allies have pledged money and weaponry, including the Czech Republic, Denmark and the Netherlands.