Speed Reads

Defining success

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says U.S. believes Ukraine can win, wants to 'see Russia weakened'

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday that the U.S. wants "to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory, we want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can't do things like invade Ukraine." Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to reporters in Poland after returning from a three-hour meeting in Kyiv on Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials.

"The first step in winning is believing that you can win," and both the U.S. and the Ukrainians "believe that we — they — can win, if they have the right equipment, the right support," Austin said. "And we're going to do everything we can and continue to do everything we can."

"When it comes to Russia's war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding," Blinken told the reporters in Poland. "Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine, to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed." Nobody knows "how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene," he added. "And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue. It will continue until we see final success."

CNN military analyst retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling agreed Sunday that Ukraine could defeat Russia's forces, but Putin would react badly to such a defeat.

Zelensky said in a statement after his meeting with Austin and Blinken that "we appreciate the unprecedented assistance of the United States to Ukraine. I would like to thank President Biden personally and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his personal clear position. To thank all the American people, as well as the Congress for their bicameral and bipartisan support. We see it. We feel it."