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US Defence Chief Says Russia Does Not Want to Take on NATO Alliance

NATO flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.05.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculus does not include attacking NATO but any attack on a member of the military alliance would be a “game changer,” US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in prepared testimony to the US House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.
“If Russia decides to attack any nation, that's a NATO member, then that's a game changer. Then, you know, with respect to the Article 5 commitments, certainly, NATO would most likely respond as a coalition in some shape, form or fashion,” Austin said.
“But as you look at Putin’s calculus, my view … is that Russia doesn't want to take on the NATO alliance," he added.
The US defence chief also commented on the matter of Russia’s nuclear capabilities.

"Russia also remains an acute threat, requiring close and sustained coordination across the NATO alliance to prevent further aggression in Europe," Austin said in a prepared testimony for the House Appropriations Committee. "Russia’s nuclear capabilities also pose significant challenges now and in the future."

Mr Austin also told the Committee about his latest meeting with Ukrainian officials.

"I emphasized the importance of accountability… and how important it is to make sure that they are tracking...the disposition of our sensitive equipment that's being deployed," Austin said.
Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
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The Defence Secretary noted that accountability is is an important issue to all, given that "we don't have people on the ground right now," which makes things "a bit difficult."

Austin also said he discussed this issue with Ukraine's Defence Minister Olieksi Reznikov in Kiev as well as with President Volodymyr Zelensky and noted they assured him they were focused on tracking and safeguarding the weapons.
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