US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin postpones NATO trip due to hospitalization | Latest NATO News

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Due to complications from prostate cancer, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized in the critical care unit. As a result, he has cancelled his trip to Brussels to meet with NATO ministers and work on Ukraine military aid. Austin, 70, was taken to Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Sunday with symptoms indicating an urgent bladder issue. His scheduled attendance at a regular meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group will now take place virtually, and it is unclear if Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks will attend the subsequent NATO defense ministers meeting in his place. Austin had failed to disclose his prostate cancer surgery in December and a subsequent hospitalization in January. His most recent hospitalization was publicly announced after he was taken to the military medical center by his security detail. Austin is scheduled to testify before Congress on February 29 about the secrecy surrounding his initial hospitalization. Meanwhile, the US Senate is moving closer to passing a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, with bipartisan support despite opposition from Republican hardliners and former President Donald Trump. The aid package is seen as crucial for Ukraine as it faces the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion, which has resulted in largely static front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine. Trump’s recent comments suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who fail to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them have drawn criticism from the White House and Western officials.

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