The US wants Russia to be “weakened” so that it cannot invade again and Ukraine win the war if it has the right equipment, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said Monday on returning from a trip to Kiev.
“The first step to winning is believing you can win. And so they believe we can win,” Austin told a group of reporters after visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The two, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, were the first high-profile US officials to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
“We believe we can win, they can win if they have the right equipment and the right support,” Austin said.
Austin and Blinken said US diplomats will begin a gradual return to Ukraine this week, announcing $700 million in additional military aid.
“We want Russia to be so weakened that it can no longer do what it did by invading Ukraine,” Austin said.
Russia “has already lost a lot of military capability. And quite frankly, a lot of its troops, and we don’t want them to have the ability to reproduce that capability very quickly,” he said.
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