Feb 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Defense secretary on Russian invasion of Ukraine: "This could create a tragedy"

A Russian invasion of Ukraine "could create a tragedy...in terms of refugee flow and displaced people," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

What he's saying: Austin added that if Russia invades Ukraine, it is "highly likely" that the world could see Russian tanks rolling into Kyiv.

  • "You could see a significant amount of combat power move very quickly now to take Kyiv," he added.
  • "If he deploys that kind of combat power, it will certainly create enormous casualties within a civilian population."
  • "And so this could create a a tragedy, quite frankly, as in terms of refugee flow and displaced people," Austin added.

Of note: Austin told host Martha Raddatz that the possibility of invasion was "not a bluff" and that Russia had assembled the "kinds of things that you would need to conduct a successful invasion."

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