Austin: Putin trying to ‘reestablish some momentum’

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday said the use of more devastating weapons in Ukraine is a sign of Russian President Vladimir Putin attempting to “reestablish some momentum” amid reports that Moscow’s invasion has stalled.

During Austin’s appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Margaret Brennan asked if Russia’s claim of using hypersonic missiles in Ukraine was a game changer.

“I would not see it as a game changer. I think, again, the reason that [Putin’s] resorting to using these types of weapons is because he’s trying to reestablish some momentum. And we’ve seen him attack towns and cities and civilians outright. We expect to see that continue. But I don’t think that this in and of itself will be a game changer,” Austin said.

Austin said these actions brought up questions about whether Putin is in short supply of weapons or lacks confidence in his troops’ ability to regain momentum in the invasion.

Brennan also noted reports that Russia has lost 10 percent of its combat power since starting its invasion of Ukraine and asked Austin if Russia can still be effective.

“They’re not being effective today in terms of their maneuver forces on the ground. They’re essentially stalled, and … it’s had the effect of [Putin] moving his forces into a woodchipper. You know, the Ukrainians have continued to trip his forces, and they’ve been very effective using the equipment that we provide,” Austin replied, noting the “significant resolve” among the Ukrainian people.

Updated at 11:49 a.m.

Tags Lloyd Austin Lloyd Austin Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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