Asked whether the Defense Department considers Russian President Vladimir Putin a “rational actor,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional speaking about Putin’s “depravity” in Ukraine.
“It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity," said Kirby at a Pentagon news briefing before pausing for nearly 10 seconds.
Pressed on the characterization by CNN’s Barbara Starr, Kirby called Putin’s justifications for the invasion “BS,” at one point pounding on the podium for emphasis.
“It’s hard to square his ... BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby.
Kirby listed some of what he called “unconscionable” actions by Russian forces, including civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed.”
Kirby subsequently apologized for what he said was injecting his “personal perspective,” and would not elaborate further on the US assessment of Putin’s mental state.
Here's the moment Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional after a question about Putin's actions in Ukraine: