Austin says ‘weakened’ Russia means taking away its ability to ‘bully their neighbors’

Speaking at a press conference at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin elaborated on previous comments he made about how one of the U.S. goals in Ukraine is a “weakened” Russia, by making it harder for the country to threaten and invade its neighbors.

Video transcript

- Mr. Secretary, yesterday you mentioned that one of the United States' goals in Ukraine now was to see Russia weakened. Can you explain more fully what that means? And specifically what do you want to weaken and how you would measure success in that regard?

LLOYD AUSTIN: Yeah, John. So I think we've been pretty clear from the outset, we do want to make it harder for Russia to threaten its neighbors and leave them less able to do that. If you look at what's transpired here in the 62 days or so that Ukraine and Russia have been involved in this struggle here. Russia has, in terms of its land forces, their land forces have been [INAUDIBLE] in a very significant way.

Casualties are pretty substantial. They've lost a lot of equipment. They've used a lot of precision guided munitions. They've lost a major surface combatant. And so they are, in fact, in terms of military capability, weaker than when it started.

And you know, John, it'll be harder for them to replace some of this capability as they go forward because of the sanctions and the trade restrictions that have been placed on them. And so we would like to make sure, again, that they don't have the same type of capability to bully their neighbors that we saw at the outset of this conflict.