Senior Army Official and Senior Protection Official Maintain a Background Briefing > U.S. Division of Protection > Transcript

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, everybody for becoming a member of us at this time. Earlier than we kick issues off only a reminder that at this time’s briefing shall be on background. Our two briefers would be the (redacted), and me, (redacted). You might attribute (redacted) feedback to a Senior Protection Official and my feedback to a Senior Army Official. I will flip it over to our senior protection official in a second who will present some transient remarks, after which I will present a short ops replace, after which we’ll be completely happy to take your questions. We do have a restricted period of time at this time. So, we are going to name on reporters and simply ask that you just restrict your observe ups. And once more, at this time’s briefing is on background.

With that. Let me flip it over to our senior protection official.


Hello. I assumed I simply the context, along with the battle that you just’re seeing unfold, which I do know (SMO) will communicate to is we simply returned from the fifth assembly of the Ukraine Protection Contact Group that Secretary Austin has convened on this time once more in Ramstein the place we began and 48 nations (inaudible – AUDIO ISSUE)

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  OK, are you able to hear us now? Did you hear (inaudible)?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Nice. OK. So, 48 nations and two worldwide organizations. The — there have been two I might bucket the main target of our targets and our achievements on the assembly, as first to proceed to make sure that all of the nations who’ve been contributing and has been taking part are conscious of and delivering the capabilities that Ukraine wants proper now for the battle in opposition to Russia, on in Ukraine to defend the nation and retain Ukrainian sovereignty. And at this assembly, there was a robust focus as effectively on what is important to supply Ukraine capabilities over the medium to long run, recognizing that Russia wants to know that the worldwide group stands behind Ukraine, that Russia cannot rely one way or the other on holding out and ready till the worldwide group weakens, that the message is clearly that we’re excited about each when it comes to the protection industrial base with the ability to present the capabilities that Ukraine wants sooner or later for an efficient protection and subsequently efficient deterrence, and the varieties of coaching that Ukraine would require. We have all been engaged on coaching within the instant context to have the ability to assist the Ukrainian battle at this time. However as we glance down the street, what varieties of various coaching applications will Ukraine require? And so, these had been the main target of each side of the Contact Group. And nations had been actually united in that long run perspective, in addition to ensuring that they are targeted on persevering with the provision of capabilities for Ukraine instantly.


And I will present a fast ops replace right here. So, at this time is 201 of Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked large-scale invasions of Ukraine. There is definitely loads of reporting on Ukraine’s ahead motion over the previous day, so I will goal to maintain that in context of what we have seen in additional than six months of combating. And as at all times, we’re delicate to the truth that Ukrainians are actively engaged in fight operations as they battle to defend their nation and take again territory from Russia’s invasion. So, I will not speak to potential future operations or focus on areas that would violate operations safety, and we’ll go away it to the Ukrainians to explain their operations, nevertheless it’s clear they’re combating onerous.

Typically, across the battlefield, total, we assess the Ukrainians are making progress as they battle to liberate and reclaim territory within the south and east. On the bottom within the neighborhood of Kharkiv, we assess that Russian forces have largely ceded their good points to the Ukrainians and have withdrawn. To the north and east many of those forces have moved over the border into Russia. We additionally assess that Ukrainian forces have very probably taken management of Kupiansk and Izium along with smaller villages. Notably, we’re conscious of anecdotal studies of deserted tools, Russian tools, which may very well be indicative of Russia’s disorganized command and management. It’s our evaluation that Russian forces proceed to focus effort from Seversk to Bakhmut, and Bakhmut continues to seem like the main target of the place Russian forces are attempting to realize floor. We proceed to see heavy use of artillery and airstrikes.

Zaporizhzhia, as lots of you’ve got probably seen, the IAEA has reported the final reactor has been shut down and put into its most secure state. And we proceed to watch shelling within the space close to the plant. Within the neighborhood of Kherson, we proceed to see deliberate and calibrated operations by the Ukrainians to incorporate some reasonable ahead motion. And on the maritime aspect, when it comes to the maritime image, we’d assess the Russians have a couple of dozen ships underway within the Black Sea that features caliber succesful ships which have contributed to strikes in Ukraine and supporting the Russian invasion. We additionally proceed to see grain shipments transferring safely. Within the air, we assess the airspace over Ukraine stays contested, and that Russians have performed elevated airstrikes over the weekend, many impacting civilian infrastructure which have contributed to widespread blackouts.

And with that, we’re completely happy to take your questions. I will begin with AP (Lita Baldor).

Q:  Hello, thanks. For — for (SMO), are you able to, you talked about form of trying down the street at coaching. Are you able to give us a way of the kinds of coaching that’s being thought of for the Ukrainians form of sooner or later and what the U.S. is perhaps prepared to do? After which (SDO), are you able to give us a way of whether or not or not the U.S. is seeing any proof of Russian troops both regrouping or coalescing, or is it — is it scattered? Do you see any form of effort for Russia to attempt to regain some battle rhythm?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Certain. On coaching, the USA is already has been for a few months now been coaching Ukrainian forces on easy methods to function a number of the newer, extra trendy capabilities that now we have been supplying to Ukraine over the previous few months, in addition to upkeep, restore and sustainment of these capabilities. So, we would definitely proceed that space of coaching. Some nations have begun to spend money on and work on fundamental coaching for incoming Ukrainian troopers. And the leaders mentioned trying ahead, then the following logical step in that development, which is increased degree unit coaching, persevering with to have a look at ensuring that you’ve the form of coaching for capabilities that could be being delivered sooner or later issues that, for instance, the USA, has now moved ahead to acquire for Ukraine via USAI system — air protection programs comparable to NASAMS. So, we stay dedicated to creating positive that Ukraine has the coaching that it must successfully make use of weapon programs and protection programs that we are going to be offering, but in addition that full vary of fundamental to increased unit coaching, increased degree unit coaching that they’re going to require for an efficient navy.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  And Lita, when it comes to what we’re seeing the Russians as talked about, they definitely have gave the impression to be withdrawn from that Kharkiv space that I highlighted. When it comes to what they do subsequent, definitely, I do not wish to speculate. We have seen studies, after all, popping out of Russia saying that they intend to redeploy or to recommit. However that is one thing that we’ll proceed to observe and regulate. In the end, our focus proper now could be on persevering with to supply the Ukrainians with what they want, broadly talking, on this engagement, however so far as what the Russians do, .

All proper. Let’s go to Dan Lamonthe, Washington Put up.

Q:  Hey, good afternoon. A query for both of you if I might please. For (SMO), the video games over the weekend are encouraging for Ukrainian within the West, however can you set them into broader context? It nonetheless looks like went a great distance up in negotiations and it nonetheless looks like this might, , in all probability drag on for years or months at the least. After which, for (SDO), please, the good points by Ukraine have sparked a dialog about broader assist. The German Minister this morning fielded questions on whether or not to ship fighter jets, battle tanks, the Lithuanian Minister has raised the identical. Do you assume these good points in current days modified the sport in any respect when it comes to the form of assist U.S. officers ought to present? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, thanks, Dan. So, when it comes to offering the strategic context, , this continues to be a troublesome battle for the Ukrainians. Clearly, they’ve gained again some floor close to Kharkiv, and so they proceed to conduct counter offensive operations within the south. And so, I do not assume there’s any false impression that this can proceed to be a troublesome battle. And, once more, our focus shall be to proceed to work carefully with the Ukrainians and the worldwide group to supply them with the assist that they want, as they push again on the Russian invaders.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Yeah and excited about future capabilities that Ukraine would require as you word, that is now a matter of not simply personal, however even public dialogue. Clearly, leaders throughout Europe and the worldwide group are starting to consider that long run context. I might say we are going to proceed, the USA will proceed with our method, which we predict has been profitable to this point, which is at the beginning, to be in fixed contact and dialog with Ukrainian armed forces to know how they see their wants. Second, to categorize these wants when it comes to sorts of capabilities to attain sure targets, comparable to, for instance, air protection capabilities. After which third, to consider particular programs that might deliver these capabilities successfully to the Ukrainians in a sustainable method. So, for instance, within the air protection area, UAVs, each strike and surveillance UAVs and people trendy air protection capabilities. That is only one space of capabilities for example. Actually, fighter plane is one thing to contemplate as a part of you what Ukraine’s necessities can be going ahead. They do presently possess fighter plane, and so they’ve been efficient below powerful circumstances in making use of these in some regards. So, that should be a part of — that is one other instance of a functionality that should be a part of an evaluation of that medium to long run, which we are going to do in shut session with the Ukrainians.

Q:  If I might observe up there. What is the DoD perspective at this level on the battle tank dialogue?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  You already know, once more, the Ukrainians are displaying that they’re fairly efficient within the counter offensive in utilizing armor as a part of their counter offensive. So, clearly, that form of functionality is vital. However we have no particular plans a couple of particular functionality at this level for that medium to long run excited about precise applications of provision.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Let’s go to Oren Lieberman, CNN.

Q:  Hey, two fast questions, if I could. Sorry about that. Simply took me some time to unmute.

First, I used to be questioning if you happen to can provide us an replace on the Ukrainian Air Drive. It has been a while since we have gotten an replace on background on, , what kind of numbers of sorties are they flying? And are they — have they expanded the form of vary of operations or what they’re capable of do, particularly given the HARMS and different capabilities the U.S. has given them? After which extra broadly talking, given Russian failures, withdrawals on the battlefield right here, is there a U.S. concern that Putin might escalate not directly that he hasn’t accomplished earlier than, whether or not that is some form of chemical organic assaults and going nuclear? Does that seem extra probably now that did, say, two weeks in the past?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, thanks very a lot, Oren. When it comes to the Ukrainian Air Drive, I am not going to, , for operational safety causes, I am not going to have the ability to focus on that degree of element, and I will refer you to the Ukrainians to speak about their present operations so far as their air drive goes. Clearly, as was talked about, they’ve an Air Drive, and so they have an air functionality that they are using. When it comes to, , potential escalation from the Russians, definitely nothing, specifically, indicating that that may very well be the case. We’re monitoring that carefully. Actually, as evidenced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now we have seen what they’re able to doing. Nevertheless it’s one thing that we’ll proceed to regulate.

Q:  Thanks.


Let’s go forward and go to Howard Altman, WarZone.

Q:  Thanks. Sorry, I needed to discover the unmute. A few questions. To start with, Ukrainians are speaking about worrying about consolidation as they transfer ahead, notably within the Kharkiv offensive. How involved are you about them being overextended and having a — being vulnerable to Russia counterattack? That is one query. The second query is, are you seeing — We’re seeing some chatter on social media about assaults within the Rostov space, the Taganrog airbase, et cetera. Are you seeing something alongside these strains? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Howard. Yeah, when it comes to, , the place the Ukrainians are and what they’re excited about potential Russian operations, I might refer you to them to speak about that facet of the marketing campaign. And I am sorry, are you able to say your second a part of your query once more?

Q:  Yeah, positive. So, are you seeing any indication of assaults on Russian bases within the east of the Azov Sea Rostov space, that Taganrog airbase? There’s been some on-line reporting about that, however are you seeing something alongside these strains?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I haven’t got something on that, Howard. Thanks, although.

All proper. Let’s go to Mike Brest, Washington Examiner.

Q:  Hello, thanks for taking my query. May you please give us an replace on Russia’s use or try to acquire weapons from any overseas nations? Iran, North Korea or any third occasion? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yep. Thanks very a lot, Mike. Nicely, as has been talked about, , they’ve obtained supply of some drones from Iran and have additionally reached out to North Korea to request ammunition. Past that I haven’t got any new updates to supply.

Let’s go to Jack Destch, International Coverage.

Q:  Thanks a lot. I am simply curious if you happen to can describe militarily the components that contributed to the Russian collapse? I imply, are these all models melting away? Have been the Ukrainians scoring casualties right here? And simply an replace, if you happen to might, on what the U.S. is aware of about something happening with Russian unit morale after these Ukrainian good points?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so broadly talking, what I might say Jack is that the Ukrainians have primarily introduced the Russians with a number of dilemmas alongside the ahead line of troops, so to talk. And so, we have seen the Ukrainians used to nice impact, the capabilities that they’ve throughout the battlefield, to alter the battlefield dynamics. And so, whereas once more, , it is actually for Russia to reply the query when it comes to why their forces reacted the best way that they did up within the Kharkiv area, it’s indicative of the studies that we have seen when it comes to low morale, logistics points, the shortcoming to maintain operations. And so, once more, that is one thing that you could regulate. However I believe, once more, you are seeing only a change within the equation in terms of the dynamics on the battlefield.

Alright, let’s go to Jim Garimone, DoD News.

Q:  Thanks. Thanks for doing this. (SDO), through the through the contact assembly, the Secretary stated the following assembly would come with the protection industrial base chief. So, I am questioning if there’s a bit extra to that a bit extra granularity to that. And (SDO) I am simply I am simply curious, what are the studies of prisoners taken by the Ukrainians? Are they — are they taking prisoners? Any thought of the scope of that?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  OK, Jim, on now, I used to be listening to your canine bark. So, I forgot what your query was. I am sorry. I used to be making an attempt to think about what sort of canine you’ve got. (inaudible) The subsequent assembly of the Contact Group. So, the following the assembly that was introduced shouldn’t be the Contact Group itself. It will be a gathering below the auspices of the contract group, and it could be we anticipate a subset of contact group members who want to deliver collectively their nationwide armaments administrators to satisfy with Undersecretary LaPlante, who’s the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment. To observe up on some normal however clear dedication to excited about protection industrial base points to guarantee that not solely can we proceed to maintain provision of capabilities to Ukraine, but in addition that we proceed to maintain robust protection capabilities on the a part of allies and companions in addition to ourselves. So, that might be the main target of that assembly. It’s presently deliberate for late in December (EDITORS NOTE: The assembly will happen in September), I refer you to A&S for his or her particular plans on that, however I believe they’re transferring ahead with these plans.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  After which, Jim, to your query on prisoners, I’ve definitely seen press studies on that. However I might refer you to the Ukrainians to speak about any, any features of their operations in that regard.

OK, let’s go to Laura Seligman from Politico.

Q:  Hey, thanks for doing this. Only a couple questions for you, (SMO). Are you able to speak concerning the operation in Kharkiv? How, how far do you assess that these, these forces are going to have the ability to get with the restricted manpower that they’ve? How far east Do you assume they are going to have the ability to push? What is the evaluation? After which for you, (SDO), I am simply questioning, I am looking forward to the south. And what occurs if the Ukrainians begin to attempt to push into Crimea or attempt to launch assaults into Crimea? Would the U.S. be in assist of one thing like that? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Thanks, Laura. All proper. So, in, , as I discussed, I do not wish to speculate about, , potential future operations. You already know, as I highlighted, the Ukrainians have made some good points within the Kharkiv area. However once more, when it comes to speculating on how far they may go, or what their plans are, that is actually one thing for them to speak about.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Yeah. I believe that solutions additionally your query about Ukrainian successes within the south in Khierson, and , the place it would lead them. I might simply say, , our place is sort of clear and constant that we assist Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And the Ukrainians will make their very own selections about how they conduct political and navy insurance policies to maintain their territorial integrity and sovereignty. However now we have a principled assist for Ukraine in these targets.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Go to Tara Copp, Protection One.

Q:  Hey, thanks for doing this. Jack grabbed my questions. Nicely accomplished. However I do have form of a observe on to that. I used to be questioning, what you assess to be the distinction maker right here. Is it simply — was it a matter of time that Russian forces are lastly being worn down? Or do you assume it was a selected mixture of kit coaching location? Why now mainly, is the battle appear to be turning?

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, what we have seen since , Russia’s I believe we – that is an understatement – ill-advised invasion of Ukraine, is that the Russian management was political and navy management made numerous miscalculation, actually monumental miscalculations, not solely concerning the worldwide group’s assist for Ukraine, Ukrainian talents, however concerning the capabilities of their very own forces, the Russian navy was riven with all types of weaknesses that weren’t obvious to the management and possibly ought to have been. And we noticed loads of these weaknesses play out within the failure to — within the preliminary goal of seizing keys and overthrowing the federal government. So, in that sense, it was only a matter of time earlier than these basic sources started to have their affect on the Russian operations within the east the place they, , thought that they had a bonus. However loads of the important thing components of a robust protection are the capabilities of your troopers, the capabilities of logistics, and command, and we have seen fractures in all of these components, and so they performed out in lots of locations in over time within the east.


Let’s go to Tony Capaccio, of Bloomberg.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  Hello, for senior protection official, (you) talked about a number of dilemmas that the Ukrainians had been presenting to the Russians. Are you able to stroll via in an English some, what are a few of these a number of dilemmas and the way the weapons we have offered has helped create these a number of dilemmas.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Certain. Thanks, Tony. And that was me, senior navy official. So, actually, if you happen to take a look at the totality of the battlespace that we’re speaking concerning the operations within the Khierson area in addition to Kharkiv, in addition to within the central line there. The Ukrainians are conducting operations which might be forcing the Russians to make selections on the battlefield about the place they will apply their sources, and the way, and so what we have seen is the Ukrainians making use of the capabilities that they’ve to incorporate these which were offered by the U.S. and our allies and companions like HIMARS, GMLRs, HARM missiles in an effort to once more change the dynamics on the battlefield. And so, that is, once more, compelling the Russians to must make selections and determine the place they will expend their sources. And as we have seen, given the challenges that they’ve, from a sustainment and logistics standpoint, in addition to from a command-and-control standpoint, it is a very onerous downside to unravel.

Q:  One observe up, how deeply concerned was the Pentagon in serving to plan or focus on this northeast offensive? We’re all caught unaware of I imply, we deeply concerned when it comes to the discussions and offering intelligence.


SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, you had been in shut contact with and dialog with Ukrainian navy and we, , that they had a number of choices. We definitely present them with info on, , on circumstances. However in the long run, this can be a Ukrainian selection. The Ukrainian navy and the Ukrainian political management made the choices on easy methods to conduct this counter offensive.

Q:  OK, you were not shocked, and DoD as an establishment, otherwise you as a senior official following this? Shock on this northeast offensive?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, it is form of a number one query. So, yeah, I imply, clearly, as was highlighted, I imply, we’re in common communication, sharing info with the Ukrainians, however on the finish of the day, they make their selections on their operational plans, and when they will execute.

Q:  OK, thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Let’s go to have time for only a couple extra, we’ll go to Louis Martinez, ABC.

Q:  I’ve a query for each of the officers. It is relating to what senior navy official simply spoke about, which was the impact that the weaponry from the West has had and altering the dynamic on the battlefield? Are you able to say that it was really pivotal on this new motion that we’re seeing this new offensive within the northeast? As a result of it laid — it formed the battlefield in such a method that it hadn’t been earlier than? So, simply are you able to speak about how pivotal that was? In the least bit? Thanks.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, Tony, I will simply form of present some ideas, after which flip it over to the senior protection official if there’s anything. However once more, if you happen to step again, and also you take a look at the assist that the U.S. and the worldwide group are offering to Ukraine, when it comes to the capabilities that they are bringing to the battlefield to defend their nation, I believe that has been extremely useful. However once more, on the finish of the day, it is the Ukrainians which might be within the battle, and so they’re those which might be utilizing this tools, to fight the Russians and defend their homeland. So, , actually a lot of the credit score, if not most of it goes to the Ukrainians and what they’re doing to make use of these capabilities to nice impact.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  And I might simply say that communication was very important in serving to us perceive early in the summertime with the Ukrainian noticed earlier than them. And initially, they noticed earlier than them the artillery battle that the Russians meant to wage. And that basically drove our focus early in the summertime on offering via PDA packages, the 155 millimeter and different howitzers, and ammunition. After which (the) Ukrainians had been very clear that they noticed that the Russians had the benefit of the truth that on the time, Ukraine didn’t have precision strike capabilities. And so, the Russians had, , logistics nodes, command and management nodes, staging areas for his or her troops. And it was at that time that, once more, with the method the place they stated they wanted the aptitude to deal with that. That is after we began specializing in the opportunity of offering the HIMARS and GMLR system. So, it’s completely a partnership and in listening to the Ukrainians, understanding what they’re seeing, after which seeing what we will do to supply them with capabilities to deal with that want.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  We have got time for yet one more query. We’ll go to Courtney Kube, NBC.

Q:  Hey, hey, are you able to guys, there’s been some studies that the Russian navy hasn’t deployed any further battalion tactical teams into Ukraine, and appears to have suspended future fight deployments. Are you able to touch upon that? Are you seeing any further deployments of Russian navy models into Ukraine?

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  Yeah, Courtney, that not — I haven’t got any info to supply on that.

Q:  So, I imply, it is one thing that we have really had previously the place we have been capable of get on these briefings, the numbers of Russian models which were which might be in have been deployed, or is that one thing you may take? There’s — there is a precedent to offering…

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  So, that is form of answering your query with the double destructive, however I might say now we have not seen Russian the Russian authorities not deploying further troops to Ukraine. How’s that?

Q:  You’ve got not seen them not deploy. So, you, you’re nonetheless seeing them deploy further models.

SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL:  I can not affirm that they don’t seem to be deploying further models to Ukraine.

Q:  OK.

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL:  OK. All proper. Thanks very a lot, women and gents. That is on a regular basis now we have at this time. Have a fantastic day trip right here.

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