Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has downplayed the chances of a military victory for Ukraine, saying the war would likely end with negotiations.
In an interview with CNN taped on Thursday, Austin was asked, “Do you still ultimately think Ukraine can win this?”
Austin did not say “yes,” but instead said, “Ukraine’s goal is to take back as much of their sovereign territory as possible.”
And when asked if the war ends with negotiations or on the battlefield, Austin responded, “Most likely, it will end with some sort of negotiation.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said to prepare for a “long war” against Russia, while calling for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine. https://t.co/u7bbi9kpht
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 20, 2023
He then said Ukraine’s “going in point” for negotiations would probably be to get all Russian forces out of Ukraine, suggesting it would not be the outcome:
Most likely, it will end with some sort of negotiation. And what the Ukrainians are interested in is getting their — getting the Russians out of their sovereign territory. And I think that’s probably going to be their going-in point — point with — you know, I’ll let the Ukrainian speak for themselves.
Despite not predicting a military victory for Ukraine, Austin said the U.S. would continue supplying Ukraine with military equipment for as long as Ukraine is fighting.
“As long as Ukraine continues to conduct operations and continues to work to take back its sovereign territory, we’ll be there with them,” he said.
So far, the U.S. has provided at least $33 billion in military aid to Ukraine in one year alone. Other allies and partners have provided an additional $20 billion in military aid. This does not include tens of billions more in other kind of support.
“We’re training & equipping several brigades of mechanized infantry,” Def Secretary Austin told me in our interview. “In addition to that, additional artillery. So they’ll have the ability to breach Russian defenses and maneuver & I think that will create a different dynamic.” pic.twitter.com/baDVlS1TfU
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 24, 2023
Austin is not the only U.S. defense leader who believes there will not be a Ukrainian military victory anytime soon.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Joe Biden’s top military adviser Gen. Mark Milley last month said, “From a military standpoint, I still maintain that for this year it would be very, very difficult to militarily eject the Russian forces from all — every inch of Ukraine and occupied — or Russian-occupied Ukraine.”
Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Keith Kellogg, who served as national security adviser to the vice president during the Trump administration, slammed the Biden administration for having no strategy to end the war and just continuing to send more weapons.
“Look, this is an endless war,” he said Friday on Fox News. “We are starting to fall into the same trap…we haven’t figured out how to end this war. And there is a way to do it. We haven’t put that forth. And that’s what President Biden needs to do. He needs to say, ‘Look, this war can be brought to a conclusion. It needs to stop.’”
He added, “The American people are going to get very dissatisfied with it by putting all this money, and there’s no end state. Look, he’s got a great bumper sticker, ‘As long as it takes’…That’s not a strategy, that’s not a policy, and they need to come up with one to figure out how do they end this thing.”
Ukraine’s top military official says the situation on the frontline is “very difficult” and calls for “very quick” weapon supplies. https://t.co/Ro2D9rOpmQ
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 10, 2022
Kellogg also said the war would turn into a war of attrition “shortly,” and the Ukrainian forces cannot win a war of attrition.
“Look, when I was in Ukraine, you look at a country that’s lost major cities…and you look at a country that a third of their population are now refugees. You look at 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers dead. You look at 150,000 Russian soldiers dead, is this going to keep going on?” he said.
“Somebody needs to say this is how we stop it. There are ways to do it. It can be done. But this administration is not leading the way to do it. And they need to. The free world looks at us to lead and right now we’re not — we’re just following,” he said.