Allies to bolster Ukrainian defenses

Ukrainian leaders have said they will not be able to defeat Russian forces without the help of their partners in the West. They said they have only 10 percent of the weapons they need. Now, those partners have agreed to help.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin chaired a meeting of nearly 50 nations in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels on Wednesday.

Austin urged them to redouble their efforts. He said that whatever help they give Ukraine is not enough. He added that they are going to continue to work hard to move as quickly as possible to ensure that Ukraine can be successful on the battlefield.

The US will provide an additional 1 billion dollars in aid, including howitzers, tactical vehicles, and ammunition for rocket systems. The allies agreed to send rocket launchers, artillery, and other weapons.

Ukrainian leaders hope the arms shipments will help their troops reverse the tide on the battlefield. The forces have been struggling to hold off an onslaught in the eastern city of Severodonetsk, where hundreds of people have taken refuge in a chemical plant.

Russian officials said they opened a "humanitarian corridor" to allow them to flee. However, they said the plan fell apart when Ukrainian troops used civilians as human shields.