Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Monday that the U.S. wants to see the Russian military “weakened” so it can’t repeat its invasion of Ukraine.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin told reporters in Poland one day after he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
When asked about America’s “goals for success” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Austin responded, “Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country, able to protect its sovereign territory.”
The Pentagon chief then turned to Russia.
“It has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly, and we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability,” he said of Russia’s military.
Austin’s comment appeared to be a shift in rhetoric from the Biden administration, indicating a more ambitious goal beyond resolving the conflict peacefully and having Russian troops exit Ukraine.
Is Austin onto something? Should the U.S. push for more beyond simply ending the war and stopping Russia’s invasion? Here’s your chance to weigh in: