US seeks to ‘weaken’ Russia as it pledges more military help for Ukraine
By Camille Gijs
April 25, 2022
Senior U.S. officials visited Kyiv for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February and said they have a new mission: a “weakened” Russian military that can’t attack its neighbors.
Heading to Poland on Monday, the day after a visit to Kyiv, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters that “we want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory, we want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Austin pledged more military help to Ukraine and a return of U.S. diplomats to Kyiv this week, during a secrecy-shrouded visit on Orthodox Easter, a holy day in Ukraine.
As the Russian invasion enters its third month, Western allies have been rushing to provide heavy weaponry, with the U.S., France and Canada sending artillery, and the U.K. considering a deal with Warsaw to send tanks. The war Russian President Vladimir Putin launched on February 24 is turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as NATO reinforces its presence on the eastern flank, and countries like Sweden and Finland, previously nonaligned, weigh joining the military alliance.
Continue reading at www.politico.eu
Behind Austin’s Call for a ‘Weakened’ Russia, Hints of a Shift
By David E. Sanger
Apr. 25, 2022
When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III declared Monday at the end of a stealth visit to Ukraine that America’s goal is to see Russia so “weakened” that it would no longer have the power to invade a neighboring state, he was acknowledging a transformation of the conflict, from a battle over control of Ukraine to one that pits Washington more directly against Moscow.
President Biden entered the war insistent that he did not want to make this a contest between the United States and Russia. Rather, he was simply helping a small, struggling democracy defend itself against takeover by a far more powerful neighbor. “Direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent,” he said in early March, just two weeks into the war.
He has committed to keeping American troops out of the fight, and has resisted imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine that would risk putting American and Russian forces into direct combat. Yet as Russian war atrocities have become more evident, and Ukraine’s need for heavy armor has increased, the lines have grown blurrier and the rhetoric sharper. At the same time, in word and deed, the United States has been gradually pushing in the direction of undercutting the Russian military.
Continue reading at www.nytimes.com
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