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Defense Secretary Warns Congress U.S. Troops Could Be Deployed If Ukraine Aid Not Sent

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin cautioned Congress on Tuesday during a confidential briefing that, should they fail to pass additional aid to Ukraine, it would almost certainly result in U.S. troops being engaged in conflict in Europe.

“If [Vladimir] Putin takes over Ukraine, he’ll get Moldova, Georgia, then maybe the Baltics,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) told The Messenger, after Austin and other senior Biden administration officials briefed House lawmakers on their request for more aid for Ukraine.

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

The Messenger reported that the warning failed to convince Republican skeptics, who oppose providing additional aid to Ukraine without increased accountability and transparency regarding how it will be helpful.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) commented, “I don’t think we got the clarity that we’ve been requesting,” indicating that members may not have been satisfied with the answers given.

The Biden administration has proposed $106 billion in assistance from Congress for Ukraine, of which $61 billion is dedicated to Ukrainian support in its war against Russia since February 2022. Rep. John Duarte (R-CA) conveyed his view of the briefing as being “prescriptive and staged.”

“I didn’t get a sense that any minds were changed in there,” he said. “It wasn’t impressive or insightful in any way other than what you might see in the news. It was just a hopeful pressure effort.”

Duarte reportedly said President Joe Biden needed to “start negotiating and quit screwing around with vacuous briefings that tell us things we already know.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told The Messenger the classified Ukraine briefing was “boring,” and said, “These guys are just speechifying about most of the stuff you guys already report on the news.”

“Joe Biden needs to do his job, secure our border,” he added. “You do that, then members of Congress will talk.”

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Joe Messina

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