The United States will continue to support Ukraine in the ongoing war despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
In an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday, host Fareed asked Zakaria Austin what he thought of Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, including areas in Ukraine that Moscow annexed last week.
“It’s an illegal allegation. It is an irresponsible statement. It’s not the sort of thing we would expect from leaders of big countries with capabilities,” Austin said, adding, “What we can expect, we can expect. Ukrainians will continue to move forward and try to conquer all territories within their sovereign borders recapture. We will continue to support them in their efforts.”
During the interview, he also praised Ukraine’s achievements in recent weeks, attributing Kiev’s progress to the skills of Ukrainian soldiers and their strategic use of weapons supplied by the international community.
But despite Ukraine’s recent gains, Austin warned that the outcome of the war is still “difficult to predict.” However, he said the US would continue to provide security assistance to Kyiv “as long as it lasts”.
“It’s not just about the gear you have. It’s how you use that equipment, how you synchronize things together to create battlefield effects that can then create opportunities,” the defense secretary said.
“Ukrainians have amazed the world in terms of their ability to fight back, their ability to exercise initiative and their commitment to defending their democracy,” he added.
Austin’s comments come after the Biden administration announced on Friday that it would impose new economic sanctions on hundreds of Ukrainian territories, namely the pro-Russian “republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk and the southern regions of Kherson, in response to Moscow’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian territories Russian officials and institutions will impose and Zaporizhia. The territories are believed to occupy approximately 18% of the land of Ukraine.
The new sanctions targeted hundreds of Russian companies and individuals, including members of Russia’s National Security Council. The sanctions would freeze the assets of the groups and individuals in the US and make it illegal for American citizens to do business with them, according to CNBC.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/us-will-continue-support-ukraine-amid-russias-nuclear-threats-defense-secretary-1839038?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution US will ‘continue to support’ Ukraine amid Russia nuclear threat: Defense Secretary