President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, refused to answer on Tuesday whether the world was a more or less safe place after the president met with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid concern that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.
“President Biden was direct and straightforward with President Putin, as he always is,” Sullivan claimed. “He told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures. We would provide additional defensive materiel to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing. And we would fortify our NATO Allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.”
Sullivan says the Biden administration has no idea whether Putin is planning on invading Ukraine, despite amassing tens of thousands of troops near the border.
Sullivan said that the “other measures” that the Biden administration could take against Russia included “both the supply and provision of additional materiel, as well as the additional deployment of assets and capabilities to NATO members in the event that there’s a further incursion.”
When asked how the sanctions that administration is allegedly threatening today compare to the sanctions that were threatened in 2014, which failed when Russia invaded Crimea, Sullivan claimed, “I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today, that things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now.”
“Now, in terms of the specifics, we would prefer to communicate that directly to the Russians, to not negotiate in public, to not telegraph our punches. But we are laying out for the Russians in some detail the types of measures that we have in mind,” Sullivan claimed without evidence. “I think it is not profitable for us to lay out the specifics of it standing here at this podium today.”
When a reporter noted that Russia was already escalating the situation militarily and asked why the administration was not doing something, Sullivan responded, “So, our view on this is that the fundamental object of the policy the United States is pursuing in lockstep with our European allies is to deter a Russian military invasion of further territory of Ukraine.”
“And the measures we have put on the table are designed to show the Russian government that should it choose to engage in such an invasion, there will be those consequences,” he continued. “That, for us, is a clear and decisive laydown.”
Later, when asked by a reporter if the meeting made the world a safer or more dangerous place, Sullivan refused to answer, saying that it depended on Russia.
“So, all I will say is that the ultimate metric for whether the world is safer or not is facts on the ground and actions taken, in this case, by Russia. Let’s see,” he said. “We are prepared to deal with any contingency, as I said at the outset. And I’m not going to make predictions or characterizations.”