When asked about how the US will put pressure on Putin while not escalating the conflict, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration's goal is "to prevent a World War."
As tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, there has been debate over how best to deal with Putin. During a press briefing on Thursday, Jen Psaki argued that that taking aggressive action might escalate the conflict, explaining that a balanced approach is necessary.
"You guys have said you close the door on supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine right now, the transfer of medics," NBC's Peter Alexander began, adding that the Pentagon had deemed it high risk.
"Mitt Romney today said there was a sentiment that we're fearful about what Putin might do and what he might consider an escalation. It's time for him to be fearful of what we might do. Why is it not a risk, a higher risk, to wait?"
"To wait to what?" Psaki responded.
"To not act and providing MiGs to the Ukrainian country. We said that's a high risk. Why is that a higher risk than not providing them? We're already witnessing civilians die as we speak."
"Well," Psaki said, "I would say what our assessment is based on is how to prevent a World War here, which is a significant weight that the intelligence community, the Defense Department, and the president United States weighs at every moment in time."
"I would note," she continued, "that is important, I think, for people to understand how we look at this, which is that there's an escalation ladder, right? And there's difference between an anti-tank weapon, a shoulder fire missile, an aircraft, and a fighter jet that could cross a border and actually conduct operations on Russian soil."
"So how we assess things is what kind of assistance can we provide that will be most impactful in protecting, defending, providing assistance to the Ukrainian people as they're fighting courageously and boldly. We are also trying to refine ourselves from taking steps that would be further escalatory. I don't think we have held back in any capacity in providing assistance, having the backs of the Ukrainians, but we're not going to do things that we think are not in the interest of the United States or our NATO allies and that is where the bar is for us."
The US has initiated a plan with Poland to send MiG fighter jets from Poland to help with the effort in Ukraine. Poland agreed to send the planes to the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, so that the US could do what they liked with them, upon which the US backed down from the plan, not wanting to appear to escalate things by flying fighter jets into Ukraine themselves.
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