Pentagon’s Lloyd Austin warns: NATO-Russia war is INEVITABLE if Ukraine loses

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could be dragged into war with Russia if Vladimir Putin's forces are not stopped in Ukraine.

He issued this chilling warning during a Feb. 29 hearing of the House Committee on Armed Services. Aside from warning of the potential conflict between the bloc and Moscow, he also expressed concern about the potential consequences of a Russian victory in Ukraine.

According to the secretary, Russian President Vladimir Putin won't cease his aggression after Kyiv falls. His victory, Austin added, might also encourage autocratic leaders worldwide to do the same – undermining democracy as a result. The defense secretary also pointed to the cascading impact on other nations, particularly those in the Baltic region.

Austin's remarks underscored the geopolitical complexities at play, with potential repercussions extending beyond Ukraine's borders. He emphasized the interconnected nature of global politics and the potential domino effect that could result from a failure to support a democracy under threat.

The secretary's warning came in the aftermath of Congress' refusal to approve a $60 billion military aid package for Ukraine proposed by President Joe Biden, citing citing disagreements over border security. The comments also coincided with a significant NATO maneuver in the East Mediterranean, where a sizable strike force assumed command, showcasing the alliance's commitment to maritime defense.

This display of military strength by NATO in a key geopolitical region underscored the bloc's determination to counter any potential aggression that might arise from Russia's actions. The East Mediterranean holds strategic importance, controlling access to the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia.

Biden admin officials discuss need to address Kyiv's military shortages

Meanwhile, Biden administration officials gathered at the Pentagon complex – the home of the Department of Defenseto address the urgent need for artillery and ammunition in Ukraine. Discussions revolved around potential strategies, including drawing down U.S. stockpiles without immediate replenishment to quickly supply critical weaponry to Ukraine. The pressing concern stems from the imminent depletion of crucial munitions, such as 155 mm artillery rounds and air defense ammunition.

Despite a stalled request for new funding from Congress, officials explored options to fulfill Ukraine's immediate requirements. The urgency arises as Ukraine faces the potential exhaustion of key weaponry within the next few weeks. While no final decisions have been made, the administration is navigating the complex landscape of addressing the immediate crisis without compromising broader diplomatic and strategic goals.

The Biden administration has been advocating for approximately $60 billion in new aid for Ukraine, yet the House is not expected to address the matter until late March. Republican opposition in the House adds to the challenges in securing swift approval for the aid package.

The Defense Department, still possessing around $4 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority funding, is contemplating providing weapons and equipment from U.S. stockpiles to Ukraine. However, the absence of approved funding for replenishment poses a significant hurdle. Officials are weighing the potential risks of depleting U.S. stockpiles without assurances of prompt replenishment.

Concerns have been raised regarding the impact on ongoing negotiations with Congress, particularly the potential strain in relations with House GOP leaders. The delicate balance involves navigating the immediate needs of Ukraine, the intricacies of congressional processes and maintaining readiness for U.S. military forces.

While supplying artillery and ammunition from U.S. stockpiles without immediate congressional approval is considered a last resort, the administration is working towards securing Ukraine funding by the third week of March. The timeline aims to sustain Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, with a vote anticipated by the end of March. The Biden administration faces the challenging task of managing the evolving situation, aligning diplomatic efforts, and addressing the urgent needs of a nation at war.

(Article by Richard Brown republished from )

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