I’ve called them out time after time in any number of fora just as I did today with regard to their bad behavior, you know their invasion of Georgia, their seizure of Crimea, their actions in Ukraine, we support our friends and allies,” he said at the Reagan Defense Forum.
When asked whether that was different from the previous administration, Esper responded, “I think we’ve upped our game.”
Esper cited the provision of lethal aid to Ukraine to fight against Russia, and getting NATO allies to increase their defense spending.
“By 2024, the increased annual spending by our NATO allies will be nearly $400 billion dollars.
“I think we’re pushing back very strongly against Russian bad behavior,” he said.