Biden told Austin, Blinken to tone it down about Ukraine winning

During their whirlwind April trip, Austin appeared to expand the U.S. goals in Ukraine, saying publicly that the administration wanted the Ukrainians to win the war against Russia, not just defend themselves, and that the U.S. hoped to weaken Russia to the extent that it could not launch another unprovoked invasion again. Blinken had publicly aligned himself with the remarks. Now Biden wanted to discuss the mounting headlines that resulted.

Advertisement

Biden thought the secretaries had gone too far, according to multiple administration officials familiar with the call. On the previously unreported conference call, as Austin flew to Germany and Blinken to Washington, the president expressed concern that the comments could set unrealistic expectations and increase the risk of the U.S. getting into a direct conflict with Russia. He told them to tone it down, said the officials.

“Biden was not happy when Blinken and Austin talked about winning in Ukraine,” one of them said. “He was not happy with the rhetoric.”

The secretaries explained that Austin’s comments had been misconstrued, another senior administration official said. But the displeasure Biden initially conveyed during that phone call, the officials said, reflected his administration’s belief that despite Ukrainian forces’ unexpected successes early on, the war would ultimately head in the direction it is now heading two months later: a protracted conflict in which Russia continues to make small and steady advances.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Sponsored

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement