Politics

Weve Been Very Aggressive with Regard to Russia: Secretary of Defense

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the United States has been “very aggressive” against Russia during the Trump administration.

“I think from my perch, where I sit, I think weve been very aggressive with regard to Russia. Ive called them out time after time in any number of fora, just as I did today, with regard to their bad behavior. You know, their invasion of Georgia, their seizure of Crimea, their actions in Ukraine. Weve supported our friends and allies,” Esper said on Dec. 7 at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

Moderator Bret Baier of Fox News wondered if it was different from the previous administration.

“I think weve upped our game. If you look at Ukraine, the provision of lethal aid. If you look at the presidents success with regard to increased burden sharing by our allies, were getting—by 2024, the increased annual spending by our NATO allies will be nearly $400 billion. Thats all going into capabilities,” Esper said.

“We now have NATO focused on China, something that hasnt happened in many years. So we had a very successful NATO meeting. But at NATO, it is also reinvigorated by what Russia is doing. And again, we compete with them all over, or we compete with them in Syria, if you will. And I think were pushing back pretty strongly against Russian bad behavior.”

Russia missiles
Russia missiles
A serviceman walks past anti-aircraft defense mobile missile systems at the Ashuluk shooting range outside Astrakhan, Russia, on Aug. 5, 2017. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Esper said he was concerned about Russia developing a variety of weapons, noting the country was “cheating” on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Both Russia and the United States withdrew from the treaty earlier this year.

Esper praised President Donald Trump, saying he has put military funding as “a topRead More – Source