Today marks one year into Russia's full scale invasion of Ukraine. There's no real end in sight right now after 12 months of intense fighting. The Ukrainian president Zelensky is declaring that the war will end in 2023. I sat down with Defense.
Secretary Lloyd Austin outside of his office of the Pentagon yesterday for his view on where the war stands, how he thinks it could end When you look at this and you're making your assessment, do you think this ends with negotiations or does it end on the battlefield?.
Most likely it will end with some sort of negotiation. And what the Ukrainians are interested in is getting there, getting the Russians out of their sovereign territory. And I think that's probably going to be either going in.
A point where, you know, I'll let the Ukrainians speak for themselves. Also, and I also discussed the threats that are posed.
By China and US's concerns about Beijing considering potentially providing Russia with lethal military assistance. Here's what he said. We heard recently the US revealing some intelligence. They do believe China is preparing to provide.
Potentially lethal assistance to Russia to help them in Ukraine. Tell us what you're seeing We've not seen any China provide any material assistance to Ukraine or to Russia at this point. China hasn't taken it off the table for sure. I've engaged my counterpart early on.
And told him that this this would be a very bad mistake if if China were to do this would further complicate things. And you think they're preparing to do that? I don't I can't speak for the Chinese. I mean, they have tremendous capabilities and so,.
Again, if they were to do that, it would be ill advised when it comes to that. If they if they do take that step and China does move to provide lethal assistance to Russia for this. What are the consequences going to look like for China?.
Well, you know, of course, there's a reputational risk in and of course, I'm sure China would love to enjoy a good relationship with all the countries in Europe. And and and again, if you just look at the numbers.
Of countries around the world that that really think that what Russia has done is is horrible. I mean, adding to that, I think China would be a very, very ill-Advised step for China to take. Would it significantly help Russia, though, if they did that? How much.
How much of a blow would that be for the Ukrainians if Russia starts getting that kind of assistance from China? Well, you know, again, I don't want to get into hypotheticals, but it's clear that China has a lot of capability.
In terms of munitions and weapons. And if they they provide the sort of, you know, substantial support to Russia, it prolongs the conflict with China. Recently, the tensions have gotten worse between the United States and China, especially after the US shut down that surveillance balloon.
You tried to call your Chinese counterpart and they didn't answer. Yeah. So on the day that that happened, my office reached out his office to schedule a call and they did not schedule the call. That's.
Not really you've heard me say a number of times. Kate, one that I think it's really, really important to to make sure that we maintain lines of communication open. And I think leaders need to be able to talk to each other to avoid misperceptions and, and.
And manage crises. And so this is really important. And so we hope that minister way well we'll have a change of heart and in schedule that call When was the last time you talked to him? The last time that I talked to him was a couple of months ago, so. Well,.
I mean, how concerning is that that the secretary of defense in the US can't get your counterpart in China on the phone. Again, I think there's risk involved with that. I think it's important to be It's not like.
We don't have any lines of communication open. You just saw Secretary Blinken talk to his counterpart in in Munich. And so their diplomatic lines of communication open. But but I think for the military, it's really, really important that we maintain.
Open lines of communication. And right now, there's not really one between the U.S. military and the Chinese military. That's that's right. But but it doesn't mean that there won't be one. So I think, you know, we'll continue.
To make sure that we stress the importance of this. And hopefully, Minister, we will schedule that call. He knows where to find him. He knows where to find you when it comes to shooting down the balloon. What that looks like,.
There were questions about whether President Xi knew about exactly where the balloon was going, what it was doing. Is there a disconnect, in your sense, between the Chinese president and his own military That could be.
I think the Chinese will have to answer that question. But but it could very well be that that he was not informed of what was going on. When it comes to the US.
Response on these spy balloons. We saw several shut down within a matter of days. We haven't seen any that we know of that have been shut down in the last several days. Is that because we're not seeing any? Or the United States is deciding and changing the threshold.
Of what it's shooting down and when there have been no threats reported? No, no, no balloons that have been reported to me that we need to be concerned about. But we'll evaluate each each case on its own merits.
Caitlin, you know, we'll assess the the issue. If it's a threat, you know, we'll deal with it. In the case of these three balloons that we engaged before, they were all operating in in airspace that would present a hazard.
To civilian air traffic. And they had travel routes that passed by our are some of our sensitive sites. And whether or not they had the ability to collect, you know, we don't know. But an exercise using an abundance of caution,.
We we decided to take them back. Is that a pretty jarring blind spot, though, that the US had when it came to what we learned about the balloons that actually happened during the Trump administration, that those top officials, you know,.
Your predecessor said they didn't know about? Well, we've we've learned a lot over the years as we've continued to focus on this problem set. And and certainly, you know, we use that.
Knowledge and analyzing what not only what happened in the past, but what's happening now and what could happen in the future. And Taiwan is obviously a major part of this. There are reports that the U.S. is preparing to send more U.S. military forces to Taiwan.
Is that accurate? I won't comment on troop deployments or operations or our training. What I will tell you, Caitlin, is we remain committed to supporting Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.
We're going to do everything that we can to help them acquire the means to defend themselves. The general, who's the head of Air Mobility Command, recently sent a memo out saying that China in the US, he believed, would be at war.
Two years from now. He said, quote, My gut tells me we will fight in 20, 25. Is that true? What you've heard me say in the past and I'll say it again today, is I don't see an imminent attack by China on on Taiwan And.
What you have to watch you know what we we we can talk about what we see and what we see is increased activity by the Chinese and in the Taiwan Strait that we've seen a number of centerline line crossings in the airspace. We've seen.
Increased activity in the waters around Taiwan as China continues to try to intimidate Taiwan. Given that, why do you not think an attack is imminent, given you're seeing that increased activity?.
There are a number of reasons that, you know, that I won't go into here, but I don't think it's and she's best interest to to attack Taiwan at this point in time. And you have to judge them by by by what you're seeing. And again,.
We are seeing increased activity. We got to make sure that we have that we remain focused on this and we have the ability to deter China from from making a bad decision and we will have that. We have the capability now. We will continue to have the capability.
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If The US can arm Taiwan, China can arm Russia
CNN representing the US's gaze which is droll when it experiences China would possibly provide Russia with lethal support. It is a ways on account of it sound US currently has now not equipped the same to Ukraine. Thus US thinks your total missiles, tanks, guns, anti-tank weapons, ammunition and bombs are now not lethal? It beggars belief that CNN/US would possibly likely roar such hegemonic behaviour in public without any disgrace.