SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: All proper, nicely, good morning, everybody. Thanks very a lot for becoming a member of us. (inaudible) right here. I shall be your briefer at present. As a reminder, at present’s briefing shall be on background. You might attribute it to “a senior navy official.” A number of gadgets to cowl up high, after which I am going to present an outline of the battlefield in Ukraine.
In order you are conscious, Secretary Austin spoke to Russian Minister of Protection Sergei Shoigu on Friday and on Sunday. Friday’s name was initiated by Secretary Austin, whereas Sunday’s name was requested by Minister Shoigu as a follow-up to Friday’s dialogue. And I am not going to have any extra particulars to supply concerning these calls past what was within the readouts that we printed on protection.gov, and I admire your understanding on that entrance.
He additionally spoke to Ukraine’s Ministry of Protection on Friday; has one other name scheduled for later at present. We’ll you should definitely present a readout on that. And you may anticipate to see — see a collection of telephone calls with allies and companions within the days forward as nicely, and once more, we’ll you should definitely present readouts as they turn into out there.
Separate, however associated, we have seen the reviews of Russian allegations that Ukraine is making ready to make use of a unclean bomb in Ukraine. These allegations are false, and as my NSC colleagues have mentioned, the world would see via any try to make use of this allegation as a pretext for escalation. Notably, nonetheless, whereas I am not going to debate particular intelligence, we nonetheless have seen nothing to point that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear weapons. We’ll, after all, proceed to observe it intently and maintain the strains of communication open between allies, companions, the Ukrainians and the Russians.
Within the meantime, our focus stays on persevering with to work with the worldwide group to supply Ukraine with the safety help and assist they should defend their nation.
Turning to the state of affairs on the bottom in Ukraine, we proceed to see Russian strikes throughout Ukraine with many showing to focus on Ukraine’s energy grid. These strikes have employed varied missiles and drones, to incorporate Iranian-provided UAVs. Within the Kharkiv area, Ukrainian forces proceed to consolidate their strains in assist of their counteroffensive, with either side buying and selling artillery hearth. We do assess that the Ukrainians have liberated some villages within the area and proceed to make advances as they strain towards the east. Russian forces on this space are largely centered on reinforcing their defensive strains.
Close to Bakhmut combating stays heavy and dynamic, with Russian forces trying to take town however being contested by Ukrainian forces. And within the Kherson area, Ukrainian forces proceed to make deliberate and calibrated operations in assist of their counteroffensive alongside three primary axes. We assess that Russian forces are largely digging in to strengthen their defensive strains on this sector.
And with that, I’m glad to take your questions. We’ll go first to A.P., Tara Copp.
Q: Good morning. Thanks for doing this.
I needed to speak concerning the Shoigu/Austin name. As you are seemingly conscious, Shoigu has additionally mentioned that the — he is additionally spoken once more this morning to the U.Okay. protection minister. I am questioning if there’s one other scheduled name for Austin and Shoigu. And with the, I suppose, elevated variety of these calls, how involved is the Pentagon that that is all getting used for a pretext for assault?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, so I haven’t got something to announce proper now by way of potential future calls. As at all times, Secretary Austin believes that it is necessary to have mechanisms in place for participating each allies and adversaries alike to deal with and work via potential misperceptions with the intention to handle escalation and stop miscalculation.
When it comes to your second query, I am not going to take a position. Once more, the Ukrainians aren’t constructing a unclean bomb, however we additionally don’t have any indications that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear weapons. So we’ll proceed to observe it intently. We’ll maintain the strains of communication open with allies, companions, the Ukrainians and the Russians, and as I discussed on the high, our focus will proceed to be on working with our allies, companions and the Ukrainians to supply the Ukrainians with the assist that they should defend their nation.
Q: To the — to the extent that you could describe it, is the road of communication open with Russia now? Will it’s simpler for the secretary to succeed in out to his counterpart due to these two calls?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Once more, the road of communication is open and definitely the Secretary is keen to take as many calls as mandatory, not solely to the Russians however — however with all of our companions. And so we’ll proceed to — to maintain these strains open.
All proper, let me go to Will Dunlop, AFP. Will, are you there? Okay, nothing heard. Let me go to Howard Altman.
A few questions, one concerning the Minister of Protection. The Russian Protection Ministry has warned troops to have the ability to function in nuclear-contaminated areas. Is that one thing that considerations you? After which I’ve some operational questions after that.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah. Thanks, Howard.
I haven’t got something to supply on that. Once more, we’ve seen no info to point that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear weapons. And so, once more, our focus is continuous to work with our allies and companions to assist Ukraine of their struggle, and that can proceed to be our focus.
Q: After which an operational — are you able to give a way of whether or not you are seeing Russia reinforcing Kherson Metropolis?
After which there are reviews that Iranians had been killed — Iranian drone technicians had been killed in Crimea. Are you able to remark about that?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, so on the latter, I’ve seen these press reviews. I haven’t got any info to corroborate that.
When it comes to Kherson, once more, writ massive round that area, we do see Russian forces aiming to primarily, like I mentioned, dig in and strengthen their defensive strains.
All proper, let me go to Tom Bowman, NPR.
Q: Yeah, once more on Kherson, there’s reviews that some Russian troops are leaving, crossing the Dnipro, others are coming in. Are you able to give us a way of what you are seeing, a ballpark on numbers? And are they crossing over a single bridge, a barge? How’s that figuring out?
And likewise, you understand, this nice want for mills in Ukraine due to the Russian assaults on the facility infrastructure, is there a way that the U.S. and NATO will ship extra mills in?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks, Tom.
So by way of Russian actions in Kherson, we do have indications that some Russian items are primarily relocating, you understand, by way of the — and repositioning — however by way of the numbers and particularly how they’re doing that, I am not going to get into that stage of element.
Largely talking, although, the Russian forces which can be within the neighborhood of Kherson Metropolis and all through that sector, we see them trying to shore up their defensive strains, you understand, primarily to — to counter the — the Russian — or the Ukrainian, relatively, counter-offensive.
So so far as mills go, I do not — I haven’t got something to supply on that, apart from to say, you understand, broadly talking, in terms of assist for Ukraine, I believe you’ve got seen the U.S. allies, companions working to remain in shut communication with the Ukrainians, by way of what their wants are, significantly going into the winter.
So I haven’t got something to announce at present however actually I anticipate that it is going to be a continued space of dialog, how greatest we will assist Ukraine heading into the — the —
Q: — proper. And also you say “shoring up defenses.” Are you able to get just a little extra particular? Are they digging trenches, hardening places? What precisely does “shoring up” appear like?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I believe you are precisely proper. In some instances, digging trenches, organising defenses (in depth ?), by way of with the ability to defend in opposition to Ukrainian counter-offensive. In order that’s concerning the stage of element that I am in a position to enter proper now.
Q: Okay, thanks.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Let me go to Jack Detsch, Overseas Coverage.
Q: Thanks a lot.
You simply had a query on Russian corruption. I am curious if the Pentagon has any evaluation or the U.S. has an evaluation of what affect corruption within the Russian protection trade has had on the general effectiveness of Russia’s conflict effort?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks for the query, Jack.
So I — I am not — I do not actually have any info particularly to supply by way of corruption writ massive throughout the Russian protection trade.
I’ll say, by way of Russian efficiency on the battlefield, you understand, we’ve seen a big problem in terms of logistics, sustainment, not solely on the battlefield but additionally as you’ve got seen from their mobilization.
So whereas I haven’t got any specifics to supply by way of how the Russian MOD manages its sources, what we’re seeing is the shortcoming to maintain massive scale fight operations within the Ukraine and to coach, equip after which get these mobilized forces to the battlefield.
And so, in some methods, that speaks for itself however I would refer you to the Russian MOD to speak about their very own administration.
All proper, let me go to Heather Mongilio, USNI.
Q: Thanks a lot.
I used to be questioning if we will get a maritime replace for the Black Sea, and significantly centered on what we predict is occurring with submarines for — on Russia’s facet?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks, Heather.
So I am not going to have any info to supply on Russian submarines.
When it comes to an replace on the on the Navy facet, I haven’t got something new to supply past what we have supplied earlier than. Clearly, it is one thing we proceed to keep watch over. We do (inaudible) that some Kalibr missiles have been employed, by way of strikes in opposition to targets within the Ukraine, however past that, I haven’t got something important to replace you on.
All proper, let me go to Idrees Ali with Reuters.
You talked about that you simply had not seen any indications that Russia — the Russians had decided to make use of nuclear weapons. Alongside that very same line, have you ever seen any indications that Russia has decided to make use of chemical or organic weapons? After which I’ve a separate query.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: So no, no indication.
Q: Okay. After which simply to follow-up, you talked about the decision between Secretary Austin and Minister Shoigu. The DOD readout was fairly quick however the State Division readout after that had fairly a couple of — fairly a little bit of element on that particular name between Austin and Shoigu.
Are you able to kind of speak about what the administration’s calculus was with the State Division, speaking concerning the DOD name? And is that going to be the norm going ahead?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, so I’d must refer you to the White Home and the State Division to speak about their readouts. We clearly issued one, and as I discussed on the high of the decision, that is the extent of the knowledge I am going to have the ability to present regarding the name.
Okay, let me go to Kasim Ileri from Anadolu News Company. Kasim, are you there? Okay, nothing —
Q: — hey, I am right here.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: All proper.
Q: Yeah, sorry, I used to be attempting to unmute myself.
So I’ve two questions really. We’ve seen — do you’ve gotten the readout mentioning escalation, they rejecting any tasks to escalate. By the escalation can we imply typical escalation or nuclear escalation? That escalation that is one.
And likewise are you aware if Russians — the second query. Are you aware if Russians have soiled bombs of their arsenal apart from it is tactically nuclear weapons? Are you involved that Russians may use it a pretax or a pole slack?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Sure, thanks, Kasim.
So regarding the read-out, I believe it speaks for itself. I am going to simply depart it there. I haven’t got something to supply past the read-out.
As I discussed in the beginning, individually we’ve seen the allegations that Ukraine was planning to make use of a unclean bomb. And once more, these allegations are false. So I haven’t got something to supply past that.
With regard to Russian strategic forces, I haven’t got any further info to supply. Definitely I might refer you to Russia to speak about what capabilities they’ve. What we do know is, once more, that we have seen no indications that Russia has decided to make use of nuclear weapons.
Okay. Let me go to Luis Martinez, ABC.
Q: Hello (inaudible). Excuse me. Hey, (inaudible).
Only a fast follow-up after which one other query. Has Typically Milley spoken with Basic Gerasimov because the Russian Protection Ministry is saying?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Thanks, Luis.
So my understanding is that Basic Milley has spoken to his Russian counterpart and I imagine they will be issuing a read-out shortly, so I might refer you to they joint workers, they need to be capable of give you a replica of that in the event that they haven’t posted it already.
Q: After which my different query was a follow-up to Kasim’s query really. You are not saying it straight however you are type of saying it not directly by saying that you simply’re describing a pretext for Russian escalation and you then subsequent say that you haven’t seen the Russians decide for the usage of nuclear weapons.
Is that what — precisely what you might be saying a pretext for escalation that the Russians are contemplating the usage of nuclear weapons?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: So once more, we have seen the reviews on the market that there have been Russian allegations that Ukraine was constructing a unclean bomb. As I discussed these allegations are false and I do know my NSC counterpart has spoken on the file about this that the world would see via any try to make use of this allegation as a pretext for escalation.
So once more, I am centered on the information as we all know them proper now, that are that Ukraine will not be constructing a unclean bomb to make use of in Ukrainian territory and that we’ve no indications that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear weapons.
So once more, we’ll proceed to observe the state of affairs intently, we’ll proceed to maintain the strains of communication open however within the meantime our focus continues to be working with Ukraine, our allies and our worldwide companions to assist them of their struggle.
Proper, let me go to Carla Babb, VOA.
Q: Hey, thanks.
So simply so I’m clear on this whenever you say that the U.S. is seeing no info to point that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear weapons, are you together with using soiled bombs. Are you lumping that in whenever you say nuclear weapons? That is query primary.
After which query quantity two, have the NASAMS arrived in Ukraine but?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: We’ve seen no info to point that they’ve decided to make use of nuclear/chem/bio weapons on the battlefield.
Q: To incorporate soiled bombs?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Sure.
Q: Okay, nice. After which concerning the NASAMS that the U.S. are supplied to the Ukrainians, have they arrived in nation but?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: So we anticipate the NASAMS to be delivered throughout the subsequent couple of weeks. In fact, we’ll defer to our Ukrainian companions to make that announcement after they arrived and after they’re operational. However as we have talked about earlier than, we’ll proceed to work exhausting to get these there as shortly as doable.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Thanks.
All proper, let me go to Mike Glenn, Washington Instances.
Q: Thanks very a lot.
In mild of all of the soiled bomb discuss, are you able to inform me — inform us if the U.S. troops within the area there have been issued with NBC gear like MOPP fits, decon kits, atropine injectors, that kind of factor?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Okay, I would have — thanks for the query, Mike.
I would must refer you to the person items by way of what their particular deployment package entails after they deploy. Clearly, that varies from unit to unit. Writ massive once more, although, you understand, we’ve seen nothing to point that Russia intends to make use of nuclear weapons at the moment. So once more, we’ll proceed to observe it intently. As I’ve talked about, our focus is on supporting the Ukrainians and offering them with the safety help they want.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: All proper, let me go to Nancy Youssef, Wall Avenue Journal.
I needed to know when you may make clear one thing you mentioned earlier. You mentioned that the decision Sunday was a follow-up to the earlier name. Was it at all times scheduled to occur, or was this one thing set — scheduled subsequently between the primary and second name?
After which secondly, I questioned when you may make clear one thing you mentioned earlier. If I am listening to you appropriately, your stating that there is no indication from the U.S. facet that Russia is intending to make use of a unclean bomb. Did you get any indication from the calls that there was any curiosity in participating in talks?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks, Nancy.
So on the latter half, once more, I am not going to supply any particulars by way of the calls past what we issued within the readouts. When it comes to the character of the calls, once more, Secretary Austin initiated the decision on Friday. It was a possibility for him to attach together with his Russian counterpart. It had been since Might since they spoke. After which subsequently on Sunday, we acquired a request from Minister Shoigu requesting to follow-up the dialog and have a name with Secretary Austin which, after all, we accepted.
Okay, let me go to Jeff Schogol, Job & Function.
You may have mentioned repeatedly the U.S. has no indications that the Russians are planning to make use of nuclear weapons. What concerning the chance that the Russians are planning to stage a false-flag assault utilizing a radiological weapon, after which blaming it on Ukraine? Are you seeing any indications of that?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks for the query, Jeff.
So once more, I am not going to take a position. Proper now, I am going to present the information as I do know them, that are that the Ukrainians aren’t constructing a unclean bomb, nor do we’ve indications that the Russians have decided to make use of nuclear/chem/bio, you understand. So once more, we’ll monitor this intently, as I’ve talked about. We’ll maintain the strains of communication open. However once more, from a Division of Protection standpoint, our focus proper now’s going to be on persevering with to assist Ukraine of their struggle.
All proper, let me go to Anson Mersereau — I apologize if I haven’t got your identify appropriately there — from Asahi Shimbun.
Q: Yeah, no.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah.
Q: No, no, you mentioned it very nicely. Thanks.
So a follow-up on the nuclear query. So early on within the conflict, Russia had made related claims concerning the joint U.S.-Ukrainian chemical services that had been across the nation, unsubstantiated claims. In response or shortly thereafter, the U.S. then issued chemical tools to the Ukrainians. However we’ve not actually seen that stage of response after these claims for a unclean bomb. Is the U.S. going to probably present further protecting gear to Ukraine? And in that case, what?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks. Thanks for the query.
As you spotlight, we’ve supplied CBRNE gear to the Ukrainians prior to now. In case you return and also you look on our truth sheet that is posted, that’s one thing that we’ve given to them.
Once more, in terms of the safety help necessities for Ukraine, we’ll proceed to seek the advice of with the Ukrainians and with our allies and companions by way of what it’s they might want on the battlefield to assist them. So I haven’t got something particular new to announce, apart from, you understand, we’ll proceed to have these conversations and ensure they’ve what they want.
Let me go to Lara Seligman, Politico.
Q: Hello. Thanks a lot for doing this.
Simply to follow-up on the earlier line of questioning, I simply needed to ask what — we have seen that Russia has activated counter-WMD forces, and Russian MOD introduced that earlier at present. Are you able to give us some extra particulars on what precisely this implies? I imply, are they doing checks on items? Are they making ready for that kind of assault? Are you able to simply give us a couple of extra particulars about what meaning?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I am sorry, Lara. I misunderstood. I do not — I could not clearly hear the primary a part of it. Russian MOD what?
Q: Sure, the Russian MOD has mentioned that they’ve activated their counter-WMD forces, or put them on alert, and I am simply questioning, what’s your evaluation of what you’ve got seen Russian forces doing to arrange for his or her — as alleging the usage of a unclean bomb?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, so I would must refer you to the Russian MOD to speak about their particular forces. Once more, our focus proper now has been on supporting Ukraine. However I haven’t got something particular to supply with regard to Russian MOD forces.
All proper, let me go to Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg.
Q: Hello, sir. A pair fast questions.
Once you say you speak about indication no indications, how assured is the Pentagon in its intelligence or its potential to outline these indications, be the items’ motion or communications?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Thanks, Tony.
Clearly, one thing that we monitor very intently every day, 24/7, you understand, and it is one thing that we’ll proceed to observe intently. So once more, I am not going to get into particular intelligence —
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: — or indications and warning apart from to say that at the moment, we’ve no indication that the Russians have decided to make use of, you understand, nuclear capabilities, nuclear weapons, so —
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Thanks.
Q: One follow-up?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Sure.
Q: I — a Starlink query that does not contain the fee query. What’s the navy utility of Starlink to the Ukraine navy? You had been — you mentioned the Russians have clearly achieved a really unhealthy job of mixed operations. And to what extent has Starlink contributed to the Ukraine navy’s efforts at command and management and motion of their profitable operations?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, I believe extra broadly talking, the difficulty of — or the potential of satellite tv for pc communication is admittedly what we’re speaking about right here, and the power to command and management forces on the bottom unimpeded by potential adversary jamming of communications or influencing the power of these communications to attach items.
I do not need to get into, you understand, particular Ukrainian ways, methods and procedures. Broadly talking once more, as you’ve got heard us say, we’re dedicated to working with Ukraine on making certain they’ve the satellite tv for pc communication functionality that they want. And so that’s one thing that we proceed to work with them on going ahead.
So I haven’t got something particular to announce at present however it’s clearly necessary.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: All proper, let me go to Nick Schifrin, PBS.
Q: (Inaudible), thanks very a lot.
One definitional query that will get again to Carla’s query, after which I’ve received a follow-up.
Does — would the Division of Protection, would the USA authorities take into account the employment or the usage of a unclean bomb the usage of a nuclear weapon?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: I am sorry, Nick, I am not following. In what context are you speaking about?
Q: The context is, you understand, you — Carla was asking type of, “Okay, nicely, indications on the usage of a unclean bomb” and I am attempting to tell apart or I am attempting to determine whether or not there’s a distinguishment between soiled bombs and nuclear weapons.
So, your level has been that no indications that Russia has determined to or is about to make use of a nuclear weapon however soiled bombs are lots tougher to see that they are coming, to collect intelligence about, to forestall no matter.
So what I am attempting to get at is when you’ve gotten been utilizing the phrases “nuclear weapons,” when the U.S. authorities thinks about nuclear weapons, is a unclean bomb thought-about a nuclear weapon?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, okay. No, I received it. So that you elevate a key level, proper, which is that I am actually not going to get into speculating a couple of hypothetical munition or its potential traits, okay? Once more, I will give attention to the information as we all know them proper now, which is that Ukraine will not be constructing a unclean bomb, a hypothetical soiled bomb that’s an allegation at this level, proper? So it isn’t true, they are not doing it.
Secondly, in terms of indications of what we’re seeing, we do not see that there is any indications that the Russians have decided to make use of the sorts of capabilities that I’ve talked about. So these are the information as we all know them, that is what we’ll keep centered on. We’ll maintain the strains of communication open with the intention to make sure that, you understand, we will talk about potential misperceptions, handle escalation, scale back miscalculation, however broadly talking once more, our focus proper now’s going to be on persevering with to assist Ukraine.
So hopefully that type of lays it out, however once more, I simply do not need to get into speculating a couple of hypothetical munition that could be a false allegation at this level.
Q: Honest sufficient.
After which only a completely different model of Tony’s query — are you able to interact in any respect with the thought of how assured the U.S. is in with the ability to decide, assess, monitor the deployment of a particularly a unclean bomb or the usage of a unclean bomb as in comparison with Russia deploying its strategic weapons, and the entire issues that will include that?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, once more, I am not going to speak about particular intelligence. You recognize, clearly, once more, that is one thing that we are going to monitor very intently. I believe that, you understand, once more, we’ll proceed to maintain strains of communication open, however past that, I am not going to have the ability to present any further info, apart from, once more, that is one thing that we’ll keep watch over.
All proper, and closing query, we’ll go to Liz Friden, Fox.
Q: Thanks for taking my query.
Are you able to reply — has the Pentagon funded SpaceX’s Starlink system in any respect but?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: So at the moment, the DOD has not paid SpaceX for any Starlink providers, because it pertains to Ukraine. Once more, we proceed to have conversations with SpaceX and others by way of how greatest to assist Ukraine for his or her satellite tv for pc communication wants.
So I haven’t got something to announce at present, Liz, however we’ll actually maintain everybody up to date on that entrance.
Q: Okay, thanks.
And simply individually, does the U.S. have — has the U.S. seen any indications that there is extra Iranian drones on the way in which to Ukraine? I simply noticed Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned that Russia requested for two,000 extra.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: So, you understand, as I highlighted to start with, we do know that Iran has supplied Russia with drones to be used on the battlefield in Ukraine. Whereas I haven’t got something particular to supply by way of potential future deliveries, it might not — we’d not be shocked had been that the case. In order that’s one thing we’ll proceed to keep watch over going ahead.
And — and only one final fast one. Has the Pentagon been requested to assist the Starlink system with every other international locations?
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: I haven’t got any bulletins on that entrance, Liz.
SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Okay, thanks very a lot, all people. Admire your time at present. Out right here.