Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned in a speech on Friday that the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is a “preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil.”
His remarks, made at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, come as the conflict in Ukraine has raged for more than 100 days.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when oppressors trample the rules that protect us all. It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors. And it’s a preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in,” Austin said.
“So we understand what we could lose. We see the dangers of disorder,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued an equally somber note on Saturday during his own virtual address at the Singapore security summit, saying that global order was being decided on Ukraine’s battlefield.
“I am grateful for your support … but this support is not only for Ukraine but for you as well,” Zelensky said, according to Reuters. “It is on the battlefields of Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided along with the boundaries of the possible.”
Russia launched its invasion into the former Soviet state in February. It has dragged on for several months after Moscow was initially unsuccessful at seizing Kyiv.
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Russia has since refocused its efforts in eastern Ukraine, including in the city of Severodonetsk, located in the Donbas area.
Zelensky has previously warned that “the fate of our Donbas is being decided there,” saying that the battle is “probably one of the most difficult throughout this war,” according to CNBC.
On Friday, Austin also met with China’s minister of national defense, Gen. Wei Fenghe, on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, warning that Beijing must “refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan.” It was their first face-to-face meeting.