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Defense Secretary Says Troops May be Deployed If Congress Doesn't Provide More Aid to Ukraine

Congressional Republicans dismissed the hearing as a 'pressure effort'

Defense Secretary Says Troops May be Deployed If Congress Doesn't Provide More Aid to Ukraine

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned Congress on Dec. 5 that if they do not approve more aid to Ukraine, it would “very likely” lead to U.S. troops on the ground in Europe.

“If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin takes over Ukraine, he’ll get Moldova, Georgia, then maybe the Baltics. And then the idea that we'll have to put troops on the ground in Secretary Austin's word was very likely,” according to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, who described Austin’s classified briefing to The Messenger.

McCaul told the news outlet he hopes the message underscores the need to pass more Ukraine aid, adding that if funding is pulled, the U.S. will “lose all of our goodwill with our NATO allies. No one’s going to trust us again.”

Despite persistent allegations from Western officials that Putin is an unbridled megalomaniac aspiring to conquer Europe, the Russian President has long maintained he does not want to be involved in a wider conflict, explicitly stating in an interview last year, “We do not want war in Europe.”

By contrast, the Kremlin for decades has cautioned that any attempt to have Ukraine be considered for NATO membership, or if NATO military infrastructure was placed in Ukraine, would a “red line” that could trigger an aggressive military response from Moscow.

Austin’s warning, which has been interpreted by some as a threat or blackmail attempt, did not win over Republican lawmakers who have demanded accountability over the more than $115 billion that has already been provided to Ukraine, as well as clearer objectives on how additional funding will help Ukraine defeat Russia.

"I don't think we got the clarity that we've been requesting," House Speaker Mike Johnson told The Messenger as he left the classified briefing, adding, "It remains to be seen whether members are satisfied with the answers provided."

Other GOP lawmakers blasted the briefing as “prescriptive and staged.”

"I didn't get a sense that any minds were changed in there,” Rep. John Duarte told The Messenger. “It wasn't impressive or insightful in any way other than what you might see in the news. It was just a hopeful pressure effort."

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