'We Want To See Russia Weakened': U.S. Defense Sec. During Ukraine Visit
By Jason Hall
April 25, 2022
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced more military aid to Ukraine in an effort to degrade Russia's military capabilities.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said Monday (April 25) during the United States' highest-level visit to Ukraine since Russia's invasion was launched on February 24, via the Wall Street Journal. "Russia is falling, Ukraine is succeeding."
In response to the U.S. and other allies providing heavy weapons to Ukraine on the front lines, Russia struck several Ukrainian railway hubs with missile strikes on Monday, which had followed missile attacks one day prior in Poltava that included striking an electricity plant and fuel refinery.
The strikes came hours after Austin and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington planned to reopen its embassy in Kyiv and provide $322 million in foreign military assistance to help Ukraine combat Russia's attacks.
Russian state media reported large fires also broke out at fuel-storage facilities containing around 15,000 tons of fuel in the Russian region of Bryansk on Monday, noting that the incidents were under investigation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population in Moscow on February 24.
The announcement appeared to serve as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.
A Ukraine interior minister confirmed to NBC News via text message that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes" were already underway shortly after Putin's announcement.
More than 1,000 protesters were reportedly arrested during anti-war protests throughout Russia amid President Putin's announcement to conduct military operations and ensuing attack on Ukraine, BNO News reported.