Pentagon chief says Russia has ‘struggled with logistics,’ made ‘missteps’ in Ukraine invasion

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Friday that Russia has made “missteps” and “struggled with logistics” in his assessment of the country’s progress amid its invasion of Ukraine.

During an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Austin was asked about his assessment of Russian forces at the time.

“Oh, it’s hard to tell, Don. I think, you know, they have not progressed as quickly as they would have liked to. I think they envisioned that they would move rapidly and very quickly, seize the capital city, they’ve not been able to do that,” Austin said. “They’ve struggled with logistics. So we’ve seen a number of missteps along the way.”

“I don’t see, you know, evidence of good employment of tactical intelligence. I don’t see integration of air capability with a ground maneuver,” he continued. “And so there are a number of things that we would expect to have seen that we just haven’t seen, and the Russians really have had some … presented … some problems. So, many of their assumptions have not proven to be true as they entered this fight.”

Austin did not provide a prediction of how he saw the conflict ending but said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could pursue diplomacy if he wanted to.

“We’re here because of his decision to launch this attack. He can make a decision today to end this and seek a diplomatic solution. He’s had a number of opportunities along the way. He has opportunities today to decide to do something different,” Lloyd told Lemon. “This is not going well for him on the battlefield. And there are a number of things that are now coming into play that will make things more difficult for him as he goes forward.”

The defense secretary also declined to say whether he believed China would get involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or what would happen if it did, saying “I would hope that China would not support this despicable act by Putin.”

In a White House readout of President Biden’s call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, the White House said that Biden “described the implications and consequences” should China provide material support to Russia. 

The development comes as Russia has struggled to seize the Ukrainian capital after more than three weeks of conflict in the former Soviet Union nation. U.S. officials are concerned that China may consider assisting Moscow amid its invasion. 

Tags China Don Lemon Joe Biden Lloyd Austin Lloyd Austin Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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