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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

U.S. says it wants russian military weakened

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke to reporters Monday after a trip to Ukraine. Mr. Austin said the United States hopes to see Russia’s military capabilities reduced so that “it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

By Marx Santora and John Ismay

The top U.S. defense official said that Russia had suffered significant military losses in Ukraine, including “a lot of its troops,” and that the Pentagon was working to ensure that Russia does not have the ability to “very quickly reproduce that capability.”

Speaking after a risky and secret visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there would be a more detailed discussion about what Ukraine would need to prevail against Russia at a meeting in Germany on Tuesday.

“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kind things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” he said.

In the two months since the start of the war, the Biden administration has steadily increased military assistance while at the same time imposing wider sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy. The assertion by the top U.S. defense officials that the United States wants to degrade the Russian war machine reflected an increasingly emboldened approach from the Biden administration.

Austin, who made his comments during a brief news conference on the Polish-Ukrainian border, was joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said Russia had failed in its goal of destroying the Ukrainian state. U.S. diplomats would soon be returning to Ukraine, he said, and he expected the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to reopen in a few weeks.

“Russia is failing,” he said. “Ukraine is succeeding.”

Here is what else is happening:

— Russian missile strikes targeted at least five railway stations in central and western Ukraine early Monday, according to the country’s railway service. The agency’s director said there were casualties but released no details.

— President Joe Biden nominated Bridget Brink, the current U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, as ambassador to Ukraine on Monday, as the United States moves to reopen its embassy in Kyiv.

— Large fires tore through oil depots in Bryansk, a Russian city less than 100 miles from the Ukrainian border that is a key logistical hub in Russia’s war effort. Russian officials said they were investigating the cause.

— One person was killed in a Russian rocket attack in the central Poltava region Sunday, according to the region’s governor, Dmytro Lunin. Seven people were injured in the attack, Lunin said, calling it the “largest shelling of the region during the full-scale Russian invasion,” in a post on Telegram.

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