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Biden SECDEF warns US troops ‘very likely’ sent to fight in Europe if Ukraine aid pulled

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III talks with sailors aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, from the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 22, 2021. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
December 08, 2023

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Congress this week that U.S. troops would “very likely” be sent to fight in Europe if lawmakers fail to pass additional aid for Ukraine.

“If [Vladimir] Putin takes over Ukraine, he’ll get Moldova, Georgia, then maybe the Baltics,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told The Messenger.

“And then the idea that we’ll have to put troops on the ground in Secretary Austin’s word was very likely,” McCaul continued. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

McCaul insisted Austin’s warning demonstrates aid to Ukraine is about more than helping Kyiv. He said the U.S. would “lose all of our goodwill with our NATO allies” if it fails to provide additional aid.

“No one’s going to trust us again,” McCaul added.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), however, seemed skeptical of Austin’s warning.

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“I don’t think we got the clarity that we’ve been requesting,” Johnson told The Messenger. “It remains to be seen whether members are satisfied with the answers provided.”

According to PBS, the U.S. has committed over $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since its conflict with Russia began last year.

President Joe Biden recently pressured Congress to provide Ukraine with additional aid, arguing pulling aid would threaten America’s national security.

“Extreme Republicans are playing chicken with our national security, holding Ukraine’s funding hostage to their extreme partisan border policies,” Biden said.

“[Pulling support would be] the greatest gift [Russian President Vladimir Putin] could hope for,” the president added.

Johnson pushed back on the president’s concerns.

“The Biden administration has failed to substantively address any of my conference’s legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers,” Johnson said.