This is his first public appearance since his hospitalization at the beginning of January. Lloyd Austin, the American Secretary of Defense, spoke on Tuesday, January 23, by videoconference during a meeting of the contact group on Ukraine.

“The security of the entire international community is at stake in Ukraine’s fight. I am more determined than ever to work with our allies and partners to support Ukraine and get the job done,” Austin said in front of a Defense Department seal and small U.S. and Ukrainian flags .

He highlighted the $250 million in military aid to Ukraine announced by Washington last month, but did not detail new U.S. aid as funds had dried up. The opposition in Congress, the Republicans, refuse to authorize a new budget package until President Joe Biden has met their demands to reduce immigration at the border with Mexico.

Key national security official

Lloyd Austin, 70, was hospitalized Jan. 1 for two weeks due to complications following surgery related to prostate cancer he was diagnosed with in early December. This diagnosis and the two hospitalizations that followed were only communicated to the country’s senior authorities, starting with Joe Biden, several days later, which caused an outcry in the press and among his Republican adversaries, in the midst of election year.

The hospitalization of the head of the Pentagon not transmitted to the White House has left a key official of the national security of the United States without news, at a time when American forces are the target of fire in Iraq and Syria and that the Yemeni Houthi rebels attack international maritime traffic in the Red Sea. The White House, however, assured that the head of the Pentagon had supervised the American-British strikes on the Houthi rebels in Yemen on January 12 “from his hospital bed.”