YouSouthern Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin canceled his participation in important meetings on Ukraine and NATO due to health concerns. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder announced Monday in Washington that he will not travel to Brussels this week as planned.
According to information, the meeting of the international contact group on the coordination of military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday will now be held virtually. Austin will participate if he can. He will be represented by US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith at a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Thursday.
Austin undergoes cancer treatment
The politician, who was suffering from prostate cancer, was admitted to hospital on Sunday with an acute bladder problem and was transferred to the intensive care unit after a series of tests and examinations. He handed over his duties to Deputy Kathleen Hicks.
An attending physician at Walter Reed Military Hospital near Washington said Monday that Austin underwent a nonsurgical procedure under general anesthesia. He will continue to be monitored overnight, but is not expected to stay longer. He is expected to be able to return to work on Tuesday. The prognosis for his cancer remains excellent.
Biden wants to stay with Austin as defense secretary
The 70-year-old defense minister went public with his illness in mid-January but was criticized for initially keeping both the diagnosis and his hospital stay due to complications from the operation secret. Even US President Joe Biden did not know for several days that his Secretary of Defense was in the hospital. Austin apologized for the lack of transparency.
Asked whether the president had concerns that Austin would no longer be able to serve in office due to health concerns, White House communications director John Kirby said Monday: “Absolutely not.”
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine