US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that the US wants to "see Russia weakened."
Austin and Sec. of State Antony Blinken traveled to Ukraine over the weekend to show US support.
Russia has largely failed in its invasion in the face of staunch Ukrainian resistance.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that the US aims to weaken Russia so much that it can't attempt a military incursion like the one in Ukraine again.
"We want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory," Austin told reporters in Poland on Monday.
"We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine."
Austin made the remarks a day after he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The meeting was the highest-level American visit to Ukraine since Russia's invasion on February 24.
Austin's comments also reflect the strongest position the Pentagon has taken on the conflict so far.
Russian forces launched a new offensive in eastern Ukraine earlier this month after failing to take control of the capital, Kyiv. It announced last week that its goal was to conquer the country's eastern and southern regions — an apparent scaling back of its initial initiatives, which included full demilitarization of Ukraine.
Russian forces continue to struggle in the face of a staunch Ukrainian resistance that continues to receive more heavy weaponry from Western allies. An unnamed senior US defense official said last week that Ukraine, which has both received military vehicles from allies and destroyed Russian ones throughout the invasion, currently has more tanks on the ground than Russia.
Blinken and Austin told Zelenskyy over the weekend that the US would provide Ukraine with more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had already approved a $165 million sale of ammunition, the Associated Press reported.
In an official statement on Monday, Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for President Joe Biden's support, saying he would like to thank him "for his personal clear position."
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