U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, criticized those who advocated an “American retreat from responsibility” and emphasized the need for consistent U.S. leadership to contribute to a world that is as safe, free and prosperous as possible remains.

Austin on December 2 extensively defended US support for Ukraine in the war against Russia and Israel in the war against Hamas.

“In both Israel and Ukraine, democracies are battling ruthless enemies bent on destroying them,” Austin said. “And we will not allow Hamas or Putin to win. And we will not allow our enemies to divide or weaken us. So while we increase support for Israel, we remain focused on Ukraine. And we remain fully capable of projecting power and honoring our commitments and directing resources to multiple theaters.”

Austin said that in the 21 months “following Putin’s unsuccessful campaign of conquest, the Russian military has been significantly weakened, thanks in large part to Ukraine’s courageous troops.” He said the successes were also the result of bipartisan U.S. leadership and the formed coalition of about 50 countries.

Since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, the United States has provided approximately $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Since the US Congress recently failed to agree to new financial support for the wars in Ukraine and Israel and only managed to pass a short-term budget bill, Austin emphasized that “we still urgently need bipartisan support “We need urgent security assistance for our partners in Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere in Congress to pass the amendment.”

Defense minister said that “Putin also thinks he can outlive us” as the Russian president believes Ukraine’s Western coalition will splinter. “But Putin is wrong again. And we must continue to make clear to the American people what is at stake in Ukraine. Ukraine is deeply important to America and the world,” Austin said.

“If we do not stand up to the Kremlin’s naked aggression today, if we do not deter other potential aggressors, we will only encourage them – and we will lead to more bloodshed and chaos. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers a grim preview of…”a world of tyranny and turmoil that should make us all shudder.”

Reuters: Western allies increase pressure on countries helping Russia sell oil above cap

This cap, introduced in 2022, has only recently been enforced. It bans Western companies from providing maritime services such as transportation, insurance and financing to ships that help Russia avoid the price cap.

Source : kyivindependent.com

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