World

US defence secretary cancels Nato meetings following return to hospital

The 70-year-old had been scheduled to travel to Brussels to attend a meeting with the Ukraine Defence Contact Group.

This is Mr Austin’s second hospital stay due to complications following surgery in December to treat prostate cancer (Kevin Wolf/AP)
Pentagon Austin This is Mr Austin’s second hospital stay due to complications following surgery in December to treat prostate cancer (Kevin Wolf/AP) (Kevin Wolf/AP)

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has cancelled his trip to meet with Nato ministers and work on Ukraine military aid in Brussels after he was admitted to hospital while dealing with complications from prostate cancer.

Mr Austin had been scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday to attend a regular meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, a gathering of about 50 countries to co-ordinate military aid for Kyiv.

That meeting will now be held virtually, two defence officials have said.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet made public.

Mr Austin was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Sunday afternoon to address “bladder issues”.

After further tests the 70-year-old was admitted into the critical care unit for supportive care and close monitoring and has since transferred authorities to deputy defence secretary Kathleen Hicks.

Following the Ukraine meeting he was due to attend a regular meeting of Nato defence ministers, also in Brussels.

It was not clear if Ms Hicks will attend that meeting instead.

This is Mr Austin’s second hospital stay due to complications following surgery in December to treat prostate cancer.