BRIGADIER GENERAL PAT RYDER: Good afternoon, everybody. A few items to pass along, and then we'll get right to your questions.
So tomorrow, Secretary Austin will depart to California and Hawaii, and in California, he'll meet with sailors and Marines at Naval Base Point Loma and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, respectively. While in Hawaii, he'll meet with several of our key Indo-Pacific allies, to include his counterparts from the Philippines, Japan and Australia to discuss our shared commitment to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. Secretary Austin will also meet with Rear Admiral John Wade, who leads the Joint Task Force Red Hill, to receive an update on the effort to safely and expeditiously defuel the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.
In addition, this afternoon, Secretary Austin will welcome His Excellency David Kabua, president of the Republic of Marshall Islands, for a meeting on the U.S.-Marshall Islands strategic and security relationship. The secretary looks forward to the discussion, after which we'll provide a readout.
Separately, the department continues to watch closely as Florida prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Ian, an extremely dangerous storm that's expected to bring heavy rain, wind and storm surge to the state's west coast. As of this morning, the Florida National Guard has more than 3,200 soldiers and airmen on state active duty, with another 1,800-plus in the pipeline. Florida has pre-positioned Guard soldiers, airmen and equipment at bases and armories around the state in preparation for deploying them to areas impacted by the storm. These Guardsmen will provide route clearing, search-and-rescue teams to support flood control and security. Aviation assets like helicopters are also on standby to assist as required.
Additionally, five neighboring states are prepared to make an additional 2,000-plus Guardsmen available, should the need arise. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is the lead federal agency on this response, and the Department of Defense remains in close communication and coordination with FEMA as Ian's landfall becomes imminent.
In preparation for the storm, the DOD has approved Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, also in Georgia, as incident support base federal staging areas. For questions concerning individual DOD bases I'd refer you to the individual services, who can provide you with the most up-to-date information about their personnel and their efforts.
Finally, later today, the department will release our latest report on civilian casualties in connection with the United States military operations in 2021. This report is released annually by the department, and this is the fifth year of its release. As you know, the DOD is committed to improving our approach to mitigating and responding to civilian harm, and on August 25th this year, the secretary released the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan, which lays out a series of actions DOD will implement to mitigate and respond to civilian harm. The protection of innocent civilians in the conduct of operations remains vital to the ultimate success of our operations, and is a significant strategic and moral imperative. This report will be posted to the defense.gov website today.
And with that, I'm happy to take your questions. We'll go ahead and start with Lita. Yes, ma'am?
Q: Thanks, Pat. A couple just quick follow-ups. Last week, you said you were going to check back on whether any of either the PDA, USAI -- any of the funding associated with Ukraine would expire at the end of this fiscal year. Do you have an answer to that yet? And...
GEN. RYDER: Sure.
Q: I'll give you, if you can -- OK.
GEN. RYDER: So what I would say is as I understand it, so the -- the USAI money, as we talked about, is two-year money, so -- and that is an appropriation so that -- that would not be affected. The PDA money is, as I understand it, an authorization, which means that authorization is good until the end of the fiscal year. I would highlight that it's not the end of the fiscal year yet, so there's still time, potentially, to -- to employ that authorization. Should we come to the end of the fiscal year, as you know, the administration has asked for supplemental funding, and so essentially what we would look to do is use that new authorization to purchase PDA, should we go into a -- a separate fiscal year.
Q: So just a couple other things. And do you know the exact amount that you think will expire? I mean, you've got literally just a couple of days.
GEN. RYDER: Yeah.
Q: And then I'll...
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So right now, we have $2.275 billion until September 30.
Q: And then on Ukraine, two things: Have you seen any change or any movement by Russia to ready their nuclear forces in any way? I know that this is a repetitive question, but just to ask it again. And have you seen any shifts in Russian force posture overall as these annexations votes start to get released? And anything about any more troops coming in, any effort to shore up areas -- anything like that?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So broadly speaking, you know, as -- as we've said, we obviously take these threats seriously. But at this stage, we've not seen anything that would cause us to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time. And as -- and as we've said previously, our focus continues to remain on supporting Ukraine in their fight and working closely with our allies and partners.
In terms of Russian force posture, broadly speaking, without getting into a detailed operational update, no, no major shifts other than we continue to see, particularly in the Donbas region, the Russians' attempt to conduct offensive operations in -- in that area, with Ukraine successfully holding the line.
OK, we'll go to Janne.
Q: Thank you.
I have a (inaudible) that in China and Taiwan and Korea our first (tension ?) they were (inaudible) a nuclear aircraft carrier arrived there to (inaudible) port, and US and ROK have maritime exercises going right now. At the meantime, China also conduct counter-response exercise in the west sea. Regarding these, how can you comment on these? What kind of a message does this exercise give to North Korea?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So does -- let -- let me make sure I fully understand. You're asking about the -- the aircraft carrier, the Reagan, what message does that send?
Well, just for the -- the benefit of the group, so the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group began a series of exercises in the East Sea with the Republic of Korea Navy September 26th, and they'll go through the 29th. And these are intended to strengthen maritime interoperability and tactics, techniques and procedures between our -- our two navies. And as you know, the U.S. routinely conducts carrier strike group operations in the waters around the Republic of Korea to exercise maritime maneuvers, strengthen the U.S. and ROK alliance and improve regional security.
Q: And China -- when China invaded Taiwan, about the contingent plan with U.S. contingency plan on the China and Taiwan conflict, and should the United States Forces in South Korea be involved with the -- in case of a dispute between China and Taiwan, under the mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and South Korea?
GEN. RYDER: OK. Sorry there, Janne, I -- I was waiting for your question. So you're asking if -- if this...
Q: ... this conflict between China and Taiwan, is this, you know, under the mutual defense treaty between U.S. and South Korea, so South Korea should be involved with this?
GEN. RYDER: So I've seen the -- the press reporting on that. Certainly, I'd -- I'd refer you to the government of the Republic of Korea for comments on -- on that. Broadly speaking, what I would say is that U.S. Forces Korea remains committed to the U.S.-ROK alliance and maintaining the high level of readiness and robust combined defense posture to defend ROK's sovereignty and to support U.S. national interests in the region.
Q: Because many of expert from Korean peninsula and also former USFK commanders in the United States, they're saying that if anything happens between China and Taiwan, there will be USFK involvement...
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so I -- no, I appreciate it. I'm not going to speculate on hypotheticals. So again, I think that the U.S. presence in Korea -- we have a very longstanding alliance and a long history of working closely together to defend the Korean Peninsula and defend U.S. interests in the region.
So let me go ahead and go to the next question. Tony?
Q: I want to go back to the nuke question first. Are you -- can you say categorically that the United States has not seen any movement by tactical nuclear Russian military units that would cause alarm?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Tony. So I don't want to get into intelligence specifically, other than to again just say that we've seen nothing that would indicate that we need to change our posture.
Q: Shifting gears to the NASAM -- on Sunday, there was a great deal of international confusion about whether the United States had delivered NASAM systems to Ukraine. This is based on a faulty Face The Nation transcript, that they later corrected, but it caused a tither throughout the world. Can you give us a reality check here? When will the first NASAMS actually be delivered? Won’t it take about two years from the August 26th contract date?
GEN. RYDER: So -- and I briefed this a couple weeks ago -- yep, absolutely -- so just to clarify, the U.S. has not delivered NASAMS to Ukraine at this stage. We expect the first two to be delivered within the next two months or so.
Q: Two months?
GEN. RYDER: Two months or so, right. That'll be from tranche three. And then the remaining six that were part of the USAI are expected to be delivered in the future. I don't have a date to provide but those will be longer term.
Q: May I ask -- because the contract, when it came out in August, said it would be completed by August of 2024, implying two years.
GEN. RYDER: Again, I think there's -- nothing's changed. I think it's two different tranches of NASAMS that we're talking about here. So we can get you the details, but again, the first two are expected to be provided within the next two months or so.
Q: Are they going to come from U.S. stocks, from the...
GEN. RYDER: No, these are the ones produced by industry, as I understand it. OK.
Q: On the civilian casualty report, obviously I haven't seen it, could you give us kind of the broad outlines of that report? I'm assuming the numbers must be relatively low cause there's not much happening abroad.
But also, I'm wondering if some of the changes that we've seen recently on trying to reduce civilian casualties, is that going to be reflected in this report? And how should we view that?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. No, I appreciate the question. What I would ask you to do is download the report, take a look at it. Certainly, again, after this briefing, we can get that to you and then be happy to entertain a more detailed discussion.
Given the fact that -- you know, the scope of the work, I don't want to necessarily provide you with half information here from the podium. So we'll make sure to get that for you right after this. Thank you.
Let me go to Carla and then I'll go to Kasim.
Q: Thanks. On Ukraine, concerning the Nord Stream pipeline, there leaking. European officials are saying it was sabotage, pointing to Russia. Ukraine has said it is -- it was Russian sabotage. Russia is pointing to the United States. What can the Pentagon say about that? Do you have any evidence that vessels in the Baltic Sea could have been responsible for this?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Carla. Seen the press reporting on this at this point but I don't have any information on it to provide. We'll continue to monitor closely obviously. Thank you.
Let me go to Kasim.
Q: General, thanks. Turkey yesterday issued a diplomatic protest to the United States for Greece deploying U.S.-provided armored tactical vehicles to the islands with no military status (inaudible) under two -- (inaudible) status under two treaties. Is there -- is there any U.S. military activity, training, going on in the eastern region? My -- that's my first question.
And second, what's your reaction to the Turkish protest to the United States?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Kasim. So I'm not aware of any exercises. You know, certainly would encourage you to reach out to U.S. European Command. But I'm not aware of any specific exercises at the moment.
And then broadly speaking, as always, you know, Greece and Turkey are both very important NATO allies. We would encourage both sides to continue to engage in constructive dialogue to ease potential tensions. But beyond that, I don't have anything further to provide. Thank you.
Let me go to Lara and then I'll...
Q: Just a follow-up question, General
GEN. RYDER: One follow up.
Q: Yeah, one follow up. Thank you. So there's an increasing criticism in Ankara that theUnited States military deployment in eastern Greece is actually causing -- exacerbating the tensions, contributing to the escalation between the two countries. Do you agree with that? What's your...
GEN. RYDER: So in terms of the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, I think, you know, obviously Turkey's an incredibly important NATO partner and ally, but I'm not going to, from this podium, engage in diplomacy. So again, we'll continue to work closely with our NATO partners, to include Turkey, and certainly I'd encourage you to reach out to the State Department for any kind of official U.S. response. Thank you.
Q: Sure. I had two questions.
One, I wanted to get your assessment of the Iranian drones that we have seen. We saw videos out of Ukraine that they've hit Odesa, in targeting civilian infrastructure and targeting the Ukrainian Armed Forces. What's your assessment of the damage that these drones are doing? And can you give us more information about what types of drones that we're seeing? And do you anticipate any additional deliveries of these sorts of weapons from Iran?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So we do assess that the Russians now are using the Iranian drones that we've talked about in the past -- that were delivered to Russia, that we do assess that they are now using them in Ukraine.
In terms of their effectiveness, I don't want to provide a battle damage assessment here from the podium or get into specific intelligence, other than to say again we've seen them employ them.
I - we've also seen reports of the Ukrainians shooting down some of these drones. Again, I'm not going to get into specific numbers but we assess that those are credible.
And so I think, again, it's just indicative of the Russians employing a capability that we know they've sought out from Iran and they're using the way they indicated they would use them, right, for both kinetic attacks and ISR.
But beyond that, at this point I'm really not going to be able to get on to more detail.
Q: Have you see the missiles from North Korea arrive in Russia yet?
GEN. RYDER: So beyond the information we provided before, which is that we have indications that Russia is seeking support from North Korea for ammunition, I'm not going to have anything further at this stage.
OK. Let me jump out to the phones here and then I'll come back in the room. Let's go with Heather from USNI.
Q: Great. Thank you so much. I was wondering if you can share anymore details about what the Secretary of Defense will be doing in Hawaii when he meets with John Wade about Red Hill?
GEN. RYDER: Sure. So really the key thing here is this continues to be a top priority for the Secretary and for the Department. He wants to meet with Admiral Wade to receive an update on efforts to safely and expeditiously defuel the Red Hill facility. So this will be the opportunity for the secretary to provide his ‘secretary's intent’ so to speak, first hand, and get a chance to talk with the task force leadership team.
OK, let me do one more from the phone here. Let's go to Hye Jun Seo from Radio Free Asia.
Q: Hi, thank you for taking my question. I have two, if I may. First, the ROK vice national defense minister said that the U.S. and ROK are closely monitoring the activities of North Korea preparing a SLBM launch. Did the U.S. see any indications of North Korea's SLBM tests?
And second, the U.S. vice president is traveling to the DMZ and Seoul on the 29th. Is the Pentagon putting additional security measures to North Korea's potential missile test during her visit?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so on your last question, obviously for security reasons I'm not going to go into details on the types of support to provide other than the Department of Defense supports our senior leadership wherever they go and provides whatever support is required.
On your first question, I appreciate the question, I'm not going to be able to talk about any potential intelligence that we may or may not have as it pertains to North Korea and any potential future missile launches. But thank you.
OK. Let me go back to the room here. Oren?
Q: General, I was just wondering if you could give a bit more detail, you mentioned at the end of Lita's question, Russian offensive operations, particularly in Donbas. Is that the only place at this point they're trying to conduct or conducting offensive operations?
Are they having any success there whether it's a couple of kilometers or none at all? And have their operations been able to affect in any way Ukraine's counter offensive, disrupt it in some fashion?
GEN. RYDER: So again, recognizing that really the Ukrainians are the right folks to talk in detail, generally speaking what you see is, again, in the Donbas region there, the Russians with elements of the Wagner group attempting to essentially take territory. I think I've mentioned previously we've seen hundreds of meters, in some cases, but nothing that I would consider significant.
The Ukrainians have, so far, done a good job of holding the line there and repulsing those offensive operations. The way I would characterize the north and the south on the Russian side is essentially defensive at this stage. The Ukrainians continue to make deliberate movement forward.
And so, yes, that's where I'd leave it. Thank you.
OK, let me go back out to the phone and I'll come back in the room here. Phil Stewart from Reuters.
Q: Hey there, thanks. Listen, I realize you can't go into intel matters but there's quite a lot of concern about the Russian nuclear threats. I'm wondering, you know, does the statement that the Pentagon does not see anything that would cause it to adjust this nuclear posture mean that there hasn't been any Russian activity? Is that definitive?
And also how does the Russian threats of nuclear escalation play into how NATO's nuclear alliance is thinking about moving forward with its support to Ukraine? Thanks.
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, sure. So Phil, I'd say to your first question, I'm not going to have anything different to provide other than, again, we have not seen anything -- or have any reason to adjust our posture at this stage.
In terms of the impact on U.S. and international unity and efforts to support Ukraine, as we've said before, our focus will continue to be on working together to support Ukraine as they fight to defend their country.
And so I don't see any change in that at this time.
Thank you. OK. Dan.
Q: Thank you, sir. Two hurricane related questions please. First, with the storm appearing to be heading toward the headquarters of CENTCOM and Special Operations Command, any accommodations you can speak to there, any concerns the secretary has about what that could mean, how you plan for that. And then on the second one, we've seen plenty of storms in the past that active duty forces always also get involved; do you expect that here as well?
GEN. RYDER: So in terms of, you know, on your last question, in terms of active duty forces; so really right now, again, DOD is in support to FEMA. And of course, the Florida state government also plays a key role in this is well right. So we will continue to stay closely aligned with FEMA and working with the state government and the National Guard. So I don't really want to speculate on what kind of support may be required in the future.
In terms of CENTCOM and SOCOM, again, certainly they could answer in more detail but what I would tell you is that hurricanes hitting the state of Florida are not new. There are very comprehensive contingency plans that are put together to address these types of eventualities to insure that there's 24/7 connectivity and command and control capability.
So the bottom line is neither of those commands will miss a beat regardless of whether the storm hits in the Tampa area or not. Thanks.
OK. Let me go back up to the phone. Luis Martinez, ABC.
Q: Hi, sir. Just two quick questions. One on Hurricane and one on Ukraine. Do you have a -- do you know how many ships or how many forces or bases have been reorganized or moved around as a result of, in advance of, the hurricanes coming?
GEN. RYDER: I don't have that right in front of me, Luis, but we can get that for you.
Q: OK. And on Ukraine, it's actually more a Russia question, you've spoken in the past about how the Russian mobilization may not impact the battlefield. Can you talk to us about these images that we're seeing inside Russia of these long convoys at border checkpoints, people being upset with these local mobilization officers. What does that speak to? What is the Pentagon's take on that? Thanks.
GEN. RYDER: Well, it's certainly something that we're keeping an eye on as it relates to Russia's overall readiness and ability to mobilize forces, primarily, again, because this is part of the broader conflict in Ukraine and certainly could impact future conditions there on the battlefield.
As for the response of the Russian people, that's really not for me to say. I think you can all watch that and make your own conclusions on that. From a operational standpoint, from a military standpoint, as we discussed previously, leading and managing any large military organization is a monumental undertaking in and of itself which requires a high degree of expertise when it comes to things like logistics, sustainment, recruiting, equipping, et cetera. And so again, we just continue to see some of the challenges that the Russian military faces and will continue to face. All that said, it is something that we will have to continue to take seriously, and I know the Ukrainians will continue to take seriously in terms of what the impact will be longer-term on the battlefield. Thank you.
OK, let me go to J.J. Green, and then I'll come back to the room here.
Q: General, thank you for the chance to ask this question. You've spoken before about Russia trying to pull -- trying to claim itself as the victim and using that as a call to try to rally support, but these long lines that Luis talked about seem to suggest that that may not be working, but that may just be a small slice of what's really going on. Do you have a broader picture of how this immobilization is going?
GEN. RYDER: Well, again, yeah, to your earlier comment there, I mean, if we step back in terms of what we've all been watching play out over the last year or so, Russia invaded Ukraine, not the other way around. And so it -- they are the aggressor here, and clearly have not achieved their strategic objectives when it came to their initial military aims within Ukraine. And as a result, you know, we've seen them struggle with command and control. We've seen them struggle with logistics. We've seen them struggle with sustainment and with troop morale. And now with this mobilization, it's an effort to address the overall manpower challenges that the Russian military is facing. And again, it adds another level of complexity to an already-challenging systemic situation when it comes to employing these troops.
So we'll continue to keep an eye on it. In the meantime, our focus, the U.S. focus is working very closely with the international community to support Ukraine in their fight, which will continue to be a tough and difficult fight in the days ahead.
GEN. RYDER: Thanks, J.J.
Q: Thank you, General. Two separate questions, first on the mobilization. There are, you know, reports and video footage of, as you mentioned, Russia having a challenging time, actually employing these troops and sending them out and supplying them, essentially, whether it's ballistic vests or medical equipment. A lot of these troops are having to go and procure these themselves. Does the DOD assess that the Russian military wouldn't even be able to sustain a full mobilization, since they're having so much trouble with a partial one?
GEN. RYDER: So, you know, I don't want to necessarily overstate it and say that we're -- you know, or comment on Russia's ability to fully mobilize. I think undoubtedly, based on what you're seeing on -- you know, play out in the open press is that they will have challenges meeting those numbers. All that said, you know, we'll continue to monitor and we'll continue to see how this plays out. Thank you.
Let me do -- yeah, go ahead.
Q: All right, then, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that they have spotted Chinese and Russian ships off the coast of Alaska. I'm curious what the DOD is seeing on that front, and if that's a common occurrence that's been happening, or has that spiked recently?
GEN. RYDER: So we've seen Russia and China, you know, sail together before, and so my understanding is that those -- sailings, -- they were sailing in international waters, so no issues there. But obviously, you know, we'll continue to monitor that and in the meantime, you know, I'd recommend you contact the Coast Guard. They may have additional information on that. Thank you.
All right, let me jump back out to the phone here real quick. I've got Caitlin from the New York Post.
Q: Hi. I've actually been asked and answered. Thank you so much.
GEN. RYDER: All right, Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose?
Q: Thank you. In August, a senior military official estimated that the Russians have suffered 80,000 casualties. Can you provide an updated estimate of how many casualties the Russians have suffered, and include a breakdown of how many of those are killed?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks for the question, Jeff. I don't have any updates to provide today beyond what we've provided previously. Obviously, the battlefield continues to be a very dangerous place and a lot of casualties, but I don't have any specific numbers to provide. Thank you.
GEN. RYDER: OK, let me go to Sylvie, AFP.
Q: Hello. Thank you. I would like to follow up on Phil’s question on the nuclear threat. You say that you don't see anything that would make U.S. change its nuclear posture. Do -- what would trigger a change of posture? Would it be simple Russian movements, or would you wait for Russia to use a nuclear weapon?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, thanks, Sylvie. So I don't want to necessarily get into our tactics or our procedures other than to say that we maintain a whole host of capabilities and proven processes to address any potential threats of that kind. So in the meantime, again, just to reiterate, we've seen nothing that would cause us to change our posture. We'll continue to monitor this very closely. We'll continue to take it very seriously. But in the meantime, again, there -- we've seen nothing that would indicate a need to change our particular posture. Thank you.
OK, let me go to Fadi, and then Jim.
Q: Thank you, General. So we're watching two events unfolding at the same time today, the end of the so-called referendum in the territories that were occupied by Russia. On the other hand, you have the mobilization regardless of the type of challenges the Russians are facing. Is your assessment that the Russians still have the appetite or the strategic objective of capturing additional Ukrainian territories, or in light of the referendum and the mobilization, the aim of this additional manpower is to hold what they have now inside of Ukraine?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, so two things on that. One, you know, first of all, ultimately, that's for Russia to decide. However, we've seen no indication that they have any intention of changing their overall aim, which is to take over Ukraine, right?
And so I think, again, what we saw from the, you know, earlier part of this conflict was they were not able to meet those broader strategic objectives, and so they scaled back and changed those objectives. And so this latest effort to conduct the sham referenda are an effort to essentially try to change the narrative and distract from the fact that they are not meeting their objectives.
All that to say, no indication that they intend to stop fighting anytime soon, and as I've mentioned, and others have mentioned, Russia could end this conflict tomorrow, but in the meantime, we'll continue to support the Ukrainians in their fight to defend their country and their sovereign territory. Thank you.
Let me go to Jim and then I'll go back out to the phone.
Q: Yeah, thanks, General. In the past, you've been talking about the Russians not learning from their mistakes and not, you know, fixing their logistical problems or fixing their personnel problems. And it strikes me that the Ukrainians are learning from this and their tactics, techniques and procedures have gotten actually better as they've gone along in the last six months.
What's the difference? Why is one side learning, the other side not?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah -- no, I appreciate the question, Jim. So I -- you know, I don't want to try to get inside the minds of the Russians or the Ukrainians, other than to say you're right, the Ukrainians have improvised, overcome and adapted very well on the battlefield. And I think in part is they're defending their sovereign territory, they're fighting for their homeland. They have something very dear to fight for and against a neighbor who has invaded them.
So in terms of why the Russian military has performed so poorly, that's a question they'll have to answer. It is a fact, and in the meantime, we'll just continue to support the Ukrainians in their fight. Thank you.
Let me do one more on the phone here and then we'll close it off in the room here. Ashley from Janes.
Q: Hi. It's been about two months since the Air Force was named the acquisition authority for homeland and cruise missile defense and I wanted to sort of get an update of sort of where things stand with getting -- it's not just going to be the Air Force but the other services coming together, possibly MDA, and then looking at the budget -- just to see sort of what the OSD approach is and the timeline for moving forward on such an architecture?
GEN. RYDER: Thanks for the question, Ashley. As you highlight, with the Air Force being the executive agent on that, I'd refer you to them and they should be able to provide you with the latest on that. Thank you.
OK, we can do one more in the room here and then gesundheit. Sir?
Q: Just a follow up on Russia, we have seen for over months Russians have faltered a lot on the battlefield, they lost a lot, they give a lot of casualties -- but we haven't seen Russians show -- using their advanced arms that they have showcased for a long time, like S-400s, Su-35s, and all other advanced missiles. What is the assessment? What is the insight at the Pentagon? Why Russians are not using those?
GEN. RYDER: Yeah, I really -- Kasim, I really can't answer that. That's a -- really a question for the Russian military to address. Yeah, I really can't answer that. So -- OK, thanks very much, everybody. Appreciate it.