Ukraine's Defeat Could Trigger NATO-Russia Confrontation, Says Pentagon Chief

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.29 - 2024 9:11 PM CET

Photo: photowalking /
Photo: photowalking /
According to Lloyd Austin, there is a high likelihood that NATO and Russia could end up in a major conflict if Ukraine suffers a defeat to Russia in the war.

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Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, has expressed concern that if Ukraine were to lose its ongoing conflict with Russia, it could potentially lead to a confrontation between Russia and the entire North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).

During a hearing with the US House Armed Services Committee, which was initially meant to address Austin's hospitalization earlier this year and his failure to promptly inform the White House or Congress, discussions also ventured into the realm of US military support for Ukraine.

The Defense Secretary highlighted the significance of approving additional funding for Kyiv, stating that such support is crucial to deter any actions that could lead to the forceful redrawing of national borders and the illegal annexation of sovereign territories by aggressive nations.

According to Ukrainian Pravda, Austin warned,

"We know that if Putin is successful here, he will not stop. He will continue to take more aggressive actions in the region. And other leaders around the world, other autocrats around the world will look at this and will be encouraged by the fact that this happened and we failed to support a democracy."

He further elaborated on the potential fallout if Ukraine were to be defeated, specifically pointing out the dire implications for the Baltic states, which could find themselves as the next targets of Russian aggression.

"If you are a Baltic state, you are really worried about whether you are next. They know Putin. They know what he is capable of. And, frankly, if Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia," Austin stated.

This comes against the backdrop of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's announcement last week about the urgent need for the United States, particularly Congress, to approve a multibillion-dollar aid package within a month. Despite this pressing request, the House of Representatives appears more focused on avoiding a government shutdown than on addressing the aid for Ukraine.