The head of the United States Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin thought that Ukraine would simply collapse when it was invaded by Moscow. Photo/REUTERS
BERLIN – The head of the Pentagon or the Secretary of Defense of the United States (US) Lloyd Austin said the President of Russia Vladimir Putin not considering the bravery of the people Ukraine when he launched his unprovoked invasion of the country last February 2022.
The Pentagon chief’s comments came on Friday during a visit to Europe to meet Ukrainian officials and NATO ally defense ministers.
Austin and US Army Chief Gen. Mark Milley have met with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. They discussed Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, and how Kiev could defend itself from an invasion by its neighbors.
Also read: Ukrainian President Zelensky Doubts Vladimir Putin is Still Alive, This is Russia’s Response
“When Putin launched his senseless and senseless invasion 11 months ago, he thought Ukraine would just collapse,” Austin said, as quoted by Newsweek, Saturday (21/1/2023).
“And he thought the world would just turn away, but Putin did not consider the courage of the Ukrainian people.”
“And he didn’t consider Ukraine’s military skills. And he didn’t consider you, in everyone on the screen, and around this table. But we need to keep our momentum and our resolve and we need to dig even deeper. This is a watershed moment for Ukraine in this defining decade for the world – so make no mistake – we will support Ukraine’s self-defence as long as necessary,” he said.
Putin had anticipated taking over the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in just a few days, but his forces faced stiff resistance.
Russia has captured parts of southern and eastern Ukraine, but has faltered as Kiev has reclaimed its territory, including the city of Kherson captured in the early days of the war, in several counteroffensives.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Wagner Group mercenary group continues to grow to up to 50,000 personnel in Ukraine, amid reports that the organization’s founder and key financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is becoming so bolder in his criticism of the Russian military that it is starting to cause trouble for Vladimir Putin.
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