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tv   Defense Secretary Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Hold Newser  CSPAN  February 14, 2023 7:05pm-7:38pm EST

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♪ >> since 1979 in partnership with the cable industry, c-span has provided complete coverage of the halls of congress from the house and senate floors to congressional hearings, party briefings and committee meetings. c-span gives you a front row seat to the how issues are debated and decidedded with no comment air the, no interruptions -- commentary, no interruptions and completely unfiltered. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. ♪ ♪ >> on wednesday defense secretary lloyd austin speaks to the press from brussels, belgium, where he's been meeting with foreign allies to cuts the war in ukraine am a full year since russia began its invasion is. live coverage givens at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. you can also watch on our free mobile video app, c-span now, or online at
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>> gigi sohn is president biden's nominee to serve as the fifth commissioner on the federal communications commission. she was first nominated in the previous congress but never received a confirmation vote by the full senate. watch her testimony before the senate commerce committee tonight the at 8:00 eastern on c-span c-span2, c-span now, our free mobile video app, or online at c-span according. >> at a news conference in belgium, defense secretary lloyd austin and joint chiefs of staff chair general mark milley stressed the united states' continued commitment to the defense of ukraine as the one-year invasion by russia approaches. they also answered reporters' questions on the u.s. shooting down unidentified aerial objects. [inaudible conversations]
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[background sounds] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today. it's my pleasure to introduce secretary of defense lloyd austin and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff the, general mark milley. secretary the austin will begin with some brief comments followed by general milley. i will call on the reporters, and due to time constraints, i would ask you to the, please, limit your follow-ups. with that, i turn it over to secretary austin. >> thanks, patrick. good amp, everyone. thanks for joining us today. we've just concluded our ninth meeting of the ukraine dedefense contact group. i'd like to thank ukrainian minister of defense bless any cover and his team for once again joining us today. now, next week the world will mark a grim milestone.
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it will have been a year since russia invaded its peaceful neighbor, ukraine. orour hearts are with the famils of all the ukrainian soldiers killed and wounded fighting to defend their country, their sovereignty and their fellow citizens. and we mourn alongside ukrainian civilians who have lost children and parents and loved ones as russia has deliberately attacked civilian targets. russia has inflicted a year of range and terror on ukraine -- of tragedy and terror on ukraine. but the people of ukraine have ininis spired the world -- have inspired the world. we deeply admire the resiliences of the ukrainian people and their determination to defend their territory, their sovereignty and their freedom. and nations of goodwill have
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rallied together to the reject putin's vision of world chaos. of a world of chaos where tyrants canch trample borders ad conquer their peaceful neighbors and break the rules of war. and that's what this contact group represents. together we have made clear that we will support ukraine's self-defense for the long haul, and we will move out with the urgency that the moment commands. demands. earlier this month the united states announced another round of security assistance for ukraine. the presidential drawdown announcement included more deammunition for himars, it included 190 heavy machine guns to counter unmanned aerial systems from russia or iran, 181 mrap vehicles and more than 2 the ,000 anti-tank munitions and
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other key capabilities. we also added $1.7 a 5 billion in ukraine security assistance initiative funds for critical air defense capabilities including countercan-uas systems and more. and at today's contact group, we joined again with our salled allies and partners -- valued allies and partners to make sure that ukraine has what it needs when it needs it. we continue to work together to provide ukraine with full combat-credible capabilities and not just equipment. and that's why we discussed synchronizing our coe the nations into an integrated training plan, and you can see importance of our coordination and our common efforts to the meet ukraine's needs for armor. among the members of this contact group, we have given ukraine's defenders more than
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eight combat brigades. this includes major contributions from the united states of strykers and bradleys and abrams tanks. init includes the u.k.'s donation of challenger tanks and the contribution of armored personnel carriers that canada announced last month. it also includes the refurbished t-72 tanks that the united states, the netherlands and the czech republic are in the process of delivering. as well as poland's latest donation of t-72s. and it includes the important steps from germany, poland, canada, portugal, spain, norway, denmark and the netherlands on leopard battle tanks. now, we also heard today about significant new air depence donations -- defense donations.
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that includesde italy and france which jointly announced that they will provide ukraine with the sam t air defense system. france also announced that it will work with australia to ramp up 155 millimeter ammunition production to support ukraine. and finally, let me also thank norway which just announced that it will provide 7.5 billion euros in military and civilian assistance to ukraine over coming five years. that's a very significant commitment. now, all of theseme capabilities will continue to be important for ukraine's success on the battlefield. but as i said last month in ramstein, this isn't about one single capability. it's about delivering all the capabilities that we promised, it's about integrating all these ssystems together, and it's abot working with the t ukrainians to help them fight for their
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freedom. now, we also had an important discussion today on our ongoing work on accountability. it's a priority for me and my contact group colleagues to insure that that our doe the nations -- coe nations continue to be -- donations continue to be used as intended and that we move proactively to prevent arms proliferation. ask we will keep working with our ukrainian partners to insure that all the equipment that we're providing continues to reach the brave troops on the front lines. now, a year ago putin assumed that ukraine was an easy target. putin assumed that kyiv would easily fall. and putin assumed that the world would stand by. but the kremlin was wrong on every count. over the past year, ukraine's soldiers have fought valiantly for their country, ukraine's people have shown deep courage
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in the face of russian cruelty, and countries of goodwill have avrallied to defend an open ordr of rules and rights. together we seek a world where disputes are resolved peace friday, where sovereignty -- peacefully, where sovereignty is respected, where borders are honored and where civilians are protected. those are the values of this this contact group. we stand united in our support for ukraine's fight for freedom, and we will stand together, united and resolute, for as long as it takes. with that the, are let me turn it over to general milley. >> thank you, secretary austin. and thank you for your leadership, leading in the ninth successive contact group. this is an incredible level of effort by many, many countries. it wouldn't be happening without the leadership of secretary
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austin. good afternoon, everyone, and let me start by giving my con collinses to the people concern con collinses to the people of turkey and syria with the tragic loss of life and suffering from the recent earthquake. also suffering are the ukrainian people. we are approaching the one-year anniversary of russia's illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, a sovereign nation of ukraine. and i want to thank the ministers of defense and the chiefs of defense that were here today representing 54 can countries that continue to participate in this group. the actions of those leaders over the last year have contributed substantially for the real effect on the battlefield, and they collectively have demonstrated unwavering commitment to the defense off ukraine. and a special thank you to the to the ukrainian minister of
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defense bless any cover and his deputy who continue to display exceptional leadership. and myal friend, general sa luteny, who's on the battlefield every cay leading his country's defense. ten daysef from now is the one-year anniversary when russia brutally, illegally and in a completely unprovoked way invaded the sovereign nation of ukraine. oas the secretary just pointed out, putin thought he could defeat ukraine quickly, fracture the nato alliance and act with impunity. he was wrong. ukraine remains free. they remain independent. nato and this coalition has never been stronger, and russia is now a global pariah. and the world remains inspired by ukrainian bravery and resilience. in short, russia has lost. they've lost strategically,
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operationally and tactically. and they are paying an enormous price on the battlefield. but until putin ends his war of choice, the international community will continue to the support ukraine with the commitment and capabilities it needs to defend itself. through in the group we are collectively supporting ukraine's a ability to defend itser the our the, protect its citizens and liberate their occupieded areas. in the face of a barbaric russian invasion, ukrainian ukrainians remain resilient. the nation of ukraine's united for one single purpose, to expel the russian forces from their territory and to defend themselves. for ukraine, this is not a war of aggression,s a war of defense. for russia, it is a war of aggression. the russian military has paid tremendous costs in their war of aggression, and now they have resorted to sending conscripts
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and prisoners to imminent death. in recent months the group that gathered here today the pledged to provide significant quantities of battlefield capabilities; a tanks, air defense and munitions. eleven countries have pledged tanks, 22 have pledged infantry fighting vehicles, 16 pledges artillery and munitions and 9 more pledged air defense artillery. the group is focused, focused on delivering the capabilities committed and efficiently providing the training, the cospare parts, the sustainment, logistics necessary for the full employment of these systems. training, maintaining and sustaining ukraine remains key for ukraine to prevail. throughout the war ukraine has showed incredible resourcefulness in how they integrate varied capabilities to adapt to the changing dynamics of in the battlefield. ukrainians have combined unbreakable will with innovative tactics and empowered their leaders to liberate their own
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country. russia, on contrast, is waging a very costly war of attrition while ukraine is effectively leveraging their asymmetric advantages in order to defend itself. and the most important asymmetric advantage they have is courage, resilience and tactical skills. this war is extremely chi namic, and ukraine -- extremely dynamic, and ukraine is fighting while training and evolving futurere operations. ukraine will integrate recent commitments of armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks with fires to achieve the effect of synchronized ground maneuver. while russia has waged this war for far too long, they will not outlast the ukrainian people nor the group of allies and partners that met today. the purpose for the united states and allies asset by our political leadership is very simple, it's to uphold rules-based international order, an order that rejects the idea that big, strong, or powerful
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nations can attack the other smaller countries,, that borders shall not change just by the use of aggressive military force. this t is the very underlying founding principle of the united nations at the end end of world war ii. ukraine does the not stand alone. 54 countries met odd to insure -- today to insure that ukraine can defend itself and the principles that guide international conduct, and those principles will be upheld. we will remain a unified coalition, we will continue to uphold the values of sovereignty and freedom, and we'll continue to support ukraine. thank you, and i welcome your questions. >> [inaudible] >> secretary austin, you said earlier this is a crucial moment for ukraine and that the allies need to get air depences and knew -- defenses into ukraine now. what are yo seeing from russia that makes this moment
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different? and the f nato secretary-general has already warn that ukraine is burning through i knew munitions faster than the rate that the allieses can supply it. will you at some point need to the f ask ukraine to do more wih less? and then for chairman millie, did one of the missiles fired at the lake huron object miss, and if so, what happened to that missile? and if so, does that change your risk calculus for shooting down objects over u.s. soil? are you starting to developpen alternatives -- develop. alternatives if and when you dedetect if next object? >> in terms of where -- thanks, tara. in terms of where we are in the fight, what we've seen over the last several months is a contested battlefield. we see a lot of activity the in the baa mood area which is where russia is focusing most of its
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effort. we see russia introduce thing a number of -- introducing a number of new troops to the battlefield. many of those troops are ill-trained and ill-equipped, and so their casualty rate has been really high. what ukraine wants to do in the, you know, at the first possible moment is to establish or create momentum and establish conditions on the battlefield that continue to be in its favor. and so we expect to the see them conduct an offensive sometime in the spring. and because of that, we are -- we, all the partners in the
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ukraine defense contact group -- have been working hard to insure that they have the armored capability, the fires, the sustainment to be able to be effective in creating the effects on the battlefield that they want to create. and so we believe that there'll be a window of opportunity for them to exercise initiative and then change or continue to create the right conditions on the battlefield there. in terms of munitions, the has been a tough fight throughout, and we've been -- ukraine has been at this for a year. and so they have used a lot of artillery ammunition. we're going to do everything we can working with our international partners to insure that we get them as much ammunition as quickly as possible and that we'll coeverything we can to sustain -- do everything we can to sustain our efforts there as
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well. we are working with the ukrainian soldiers in various places throughout europe to emphasize additional training on maneuver so that as they place more emphasis on maneuver and shaping the battlefield with pyres and then maneuvering, there's a good chance that they'll require less, less artillery and munitions, but that's left to be seen. so we're going another the everything we can to make sure they have what they need to be successful,th and that's what we continue to emphasize here in the, during the defense contact group, and we think the training will pay additional dividends as well. >> so, tara, on the balloon shot, yes, first shot missed on the fourth balloon. so we're talking about the balloon that was down over lake huron. the first balloon, the chinese spy balloon that went down over the atlantic and the south carolina coast, that was, that
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shot hit. second one over alaska on the north coast of alaska, that one hit. the third one that landed in the yukon, a that one hit. -- that one hit. on the fourtht one, first shot many missed, second shot hit. so the most important thing for the american military so the protect the american people. so we evaluate the risk, we evaluate the risk of the balloons themselves, are they an intelligence threat, a threat to aviation, all those hinges we go through very carefully. we determine what the debris field is t likely to be with one of these platforms landing on the earth's surface or in the p water, so we go to great lengths to the makein sure that the air space and the backdrop are clear to the maxfective range of the missile. and in this casesi the missile landed harmless wily in the water of lake huron. we tracked it all the way down. and we made sure that the air space was clear of any commercial, civilian or recreational traffic. we cois tame thing of the maritime space, so we're very,
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very deliberate in our planning. northcom does that along with the pilots themselves, so we're very,el very careful to the make sure those shots are, in fact, safe. and that's the guidance from the president, shoot it down and make sure we minimize collateral damage and -- >> [inaudible] >> i'll just use the word object, that's's what every earn's using. we'll see. we're not recovered yet, as you know, number two, three and four are not recovered yet. number one we are recovering and getting a lot of stuff off of that, buter two, three and four are not recovered. they're in very difficult terrain. the second one off the coast of alaska, that's in some really, really difference terrain in the arctic circle, very, very elope temperatures in the -40s. of the second one is in the canadian o rockies in the yukon, very difficult to get that one, andhi the third one is in lake huron probably at 100 feet we'll get them eventually, but
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it's going to take some time to recover those. >>se [inaudible] >> thank you -- [inaudible] to mr. secretary, was the question of the plane supplies, i mean, jet supplies to ukraine discussed or not, and what kind of security o circumstances shod be created inside ukraine to deploy a new type of aircraft of such kind? does it mean that it's possible after the inte e grated air defense system is created? and to general milley, if i may, what is your risk assessment for supply routes of the delivery of western equipment and ammunition to ukraine? and how it could be made more secured. thank you. >> so on the issue of aircraft, i don't have any announcements to make on aircraft today.
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we're going to continue to work with ukraine to crease ukraine's most pressing -- to the address ukraine's most pressing needs. again, they're contemplate fromming an offensive in the spring, and that's just weeks away. and so we have a lot to get done. so if you think about the numbers of systems that we're bringing together, bradleys, strykers, martyrs, cb-90s, 113s, artillery and the list goes on and on, it's a monumental task to bring all those systems together, get the troops trained on those platforms and make sure we have sustainment forop that, for allf those systems and get those systems into the fight. so that's really the focus of our conversationed to.. -- today. >> so dmitri, lines of communication in warfare and combat are always subject to enemy attack. no different here. and the lines of communication
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that stretch through the western portion of ukraine are subject to russian attack the, attackst from the air, attack from artillery, attack from special operations forces, etc. so the key to insure that the supplies get through, maintain good operational security, vary your times, don't set patterns, take different routes and make sure you kiss possessor -- disperse your force so you have small penny pacts as to posed to one large, massive convoy. the security from any border anywhere, that security is part of the security plan for the ukrainian armed forces. they pick the stuff up, and they do that. they practice all the good tactics, techniques and procedures that i just described. i would say it's not without risk, butnd it's moderate, and it's been successful so far to get through. > go the alicia schwartz, "financial times." >> thank you. first for secretary austin, we've heard from western officials that that russia's air
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force is well intact and that the russians are preparing to launch an air campaign as its land forces are depleted. where is russia amassing aircraft9 ahead of to offensive? how soon could this begin? has this hastennenned the need to provide air defense to ukraine, and has enough sanction the been provided so that ukraine is ready to defend against it? and thendy for chairman millie, does russia have the right leequipment to the pose a threat to the ukrainians and breakthrough in the donbas? and separately but relateddedly, is ukraine going to get enough equipment in enough time and have a big enough force on the ground to have a serious counteroffensive? >> thanks, alicia. in terms of whether or not russia is massing its aircraft for some massive aerial attack the, we don't currently see that. we do know that russia has a substantial number of aircraft in its inventory and a lot of
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capability left. ing that's why we've emphasized that, you know, we needed to do everything that we can -- we need to do everything that we can to get ukraine as much air defense capability as we possibly can. and recently you've seen us step up and offer patriots, you've seen other countries come forward with sam t and irish t, but it's not enough, and we're going to keep pushing until we get more because that threat is out there. . t and then integrate those capabilities so we haven't missile defense capability. i would add ukraine has done a credible job of intercepting a lot of the rockets and missiles
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that of been launched by russia in this recent attacks. but again, willing to make sure they have the ability to protect themselves going forward in the event russiaes tries to introdue its air force into this fight should be they have not done so thus far because ukraine's air defenses have been pretty gosh darn effective as youre know. talks on whether not the russians have the capability in equipment for the attack they are attacking right now. their progress is swell slow there's a war of attrition. there morale is not great they are struggling mightily. they do have numbers within a call up of several hundred thousand. those folks have been arriving on the battlefield. they do have numbers. whether or not they are successful in pressing the fight that remains to be seen. that fight has been going on. it is a slow grinding a battle
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of attrition in that generale area. as you know from this particular conference here, we are with a significant amount of capabilities that would ground maneuverability et cetera. what they do that is up to the ukrainians in the coming weeks and months. we have time for one more. >> thank you very much. one question to secretary austin about stand of the u.s. when it comes to delivery. president biden said note the delivery of f-16s. earlier in the conflict in poland offered to deliver negative 292 ukraine, i think the u.s. stopped it. has this position evolved? if they want to, or assess the
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risk is too high for it what is the u.s. position on other countries delivering fighter jets into chairmano millie, the russian offensive we are seeing, what do you see so far? vis this very serious? is it different than what was on the past? and do you have any intelligence whether we are going to seeer another attempt of the russian forces to capture. >> thank you, marcus. for the record with respect to any kind of aircraft being provided by polo the united states never stop poland from providing anything. the decision to provide anything that is the decision may differ they'll be a decision made by leadership of that country for that is certainly not something we can or will dictate. in n terms of whether or not we are going to provide f-16s as i
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said earlier, i do not have any announcements to make. and i do not have anything to add to what our president said earlier. i will just leave it at that. >> marcus, on the issue of the russian offensive, this offensive you see right now in the area, all the way down the front line is now stable and violentt with a lot of fighting it's relatively stable. most of the dynamic movement back and forth is generally in the vicinity. the ukrainians are holding, they're fighting the defense. the russians are attacking. what i would describe as a very significant grinding a battle of attrition with very high casualties especially on the russian side. there is no fancy maneuvers going out of this as frontal attacks,il wave attacks, lots of
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artillery with extremely high levels of casualties in that particular area. and how long that will last is difficult to say actually print is been going on for weeks. and i think it will continue to go on and tell her that the russians culminate. i do not think the ukrainians would collapse or fold i think they're going to continue to c fight. that iso a battle we are paying attention to very, very closely and make sure they continue to defend. as far as kyiv i'm not going to go into what intelligence we have or don't have. right now there's always a potential threat the missile attack threats kyiv is the capitol but that was aig significant objective early in the war. i would never discount russian capabilities to attack but right now are not seeing any significance. that concludes our press briefing.
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>> after leaving belgium secretary often make additional stops of the stony and germany to visit local leaders admit u.s. allied service members. tracks on wednesday, defense secretary lloyd often speaks the express from brussels, belgium or he's a mean to discuss the war in ukraine almost a full year after russia first began its invasion. live coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2 party can also watch on a freak mobile video app. c-span now. or online at as a president biden's nominee to serve as the fifth commissioner on the federal communications commission purchase first nominee in the previous congress but never received a confirmation vote by the full senate. watch her testimony before the senate commerce committee tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cspan2, c spent now are free mobile video app or online at


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