If US doesn't help Ukraine, American soldiers will have to fight in Europe - Pentagon chief
Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin says that if the United States does not provide assistance to Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeds, Russia will launch an offensive against NATO countries, which will force the US military to fight in Europe
The Voice of America reports.
On Tuesday, October 31, during a hearing at the Senate Committee on Appropriations, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not exaggerating when he says that without the financial support of the United States and NATO, Ukrainians may lose this war against Russia.
"He is not exaggerating. We have provided a significant amount of security assistance to Ukraine. Not only that—based upon our leadership, our example—some 50 other countries have worked with us in a coalition to also provide assistance. They have committed about $35 billion to this overall effort. I think our leadership is really important in this effort," Austin said.
Responding to Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed on the application of Article 5 in the NATO charter (an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all its members and triggers a response from all member states), Austin argued that if the US does not provide resources to Ukraine now, it is likely that US soldiers will be in the "European theater of war" later.
"I think if Putin succeeds, he will not stop in Ukraine. If you are a Baltic country, you think: I'm next. And, you know, I have no doubt that sooner or later he will challenge NATO, and we will find ourselves in a firefight," the Pentagon chief said.
Austin agreed with Reed's statement that the United States is facing a choice between providing Ukrainians with weapons and finance and the participation of American soldiers in the war in Europe.
He said that Washington understands Putin's strategy to drag out the war and assured that the United States is trying to do everything possible to support Ukraine.
"In Ukraine, Putin has felt that he could wait us out. And that’s part of his strategy, the main part of his strategy. He feels that the West will get tired of supporting Ukraine, and he’ll soon have his way. If that’s the case, if we don’t support Ukraine then Putin wins, but Putin will not stop in Ukraine. We know this, everyone knows this. So I think it's important that we do whatever it takes to support Ukraine and Israel and help them defend their sovereign territory," Austin commented.
He also emphasized that the wars in Ukraine and Israel affect the national interests of the United States.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes that the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East are linked through mutual assistance between Iran and Russia.
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Israeli State to Ukraine Michael Brodsky believes that the events in the Middle East will not affect the assistance to Ukraine from the United States and Europe.