US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want the war to become a “full-blown” conflict with NATO.
“This is a fight that Putin really does not want to have,” said the US military.
The conflict “would quickly escalate into another type of confrontation that no one wants to see,” Austin said in his testimony before the House Defense panel.
The secretary stated that he has emphasized to Ukraine’s leaders the importance of tracking US weapons sent to the country. so they don’t get sidetracked.
“Accountability is an important issue for all of us,” he said.
The Russian deputy foreign minister met with the US ambassador in Moscow. The talks followed a report that Kremlin-installed authorities in Ukraine’s Kherson region plan to apply to become part of Russia, a sign the occupied territory may be annexed.
On the other hand, President Volodymyr Zelensky presented this Wednesday a bill to the Ukrainian parliament that provides for the confiscation of assets linked to Russia no later than six months after martial law expires.
Under the terms of the draft, Ukraine could seize Russian assets and those of its citizens on Ukrainian territory, assuming parliament passes the law.
“We want to restore peace and we want to restore our territory,” the Ukrainian leader said in a speech to Science Po students in Paris. The Ukrainian side is ready to continue negotiations, he assured, but “with each new atrocitythe desire and ability to negotiate recedes, along with the ability to resolve this diplomatically.”