US President Joe Biden's administration has reiterated in conversations with Ukraine that it does not support attacks on Russian soil, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told CNN Thursday.
“We have again made it very clear to the Ukrainians what our expectations are about attacking Russia — we don't want to encourage or enable that, we certainly don't want any US-made equipment used to attack Russian soil,” Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“And we have gotten assurances from the Ukrainians that they will respect those wishes … we have been very clear that we want Ukraine to be able to defend its own soil, its own territory. They have been attacked. They have been invaded. They have a right to defend themselves," he continued. "But, we've also been clear, well, that we don't want to see this war escalate beyond this, the devastation and the violence that is already visited on the Ukrainian people.”
The conversations with Ukraine didn’t involve “outlining consequences” but were “simply a reaffirmation," Kirby told CNN. He added that these discussions have happened "as recently as over just the last day or so."
Some context: Kirby's comments come on the heels of a CNN report that anti-Putin Russian fighters, fighting alongside Ukrainian armed forces, conducted a raid inside Russian territory.
In an interview with CNN’s Sam Kiley, one of the Russian nationals said the raid was conducted using American-manufactured equipment purchased on the open market. Kirby said Thursday that he could not confirm that.
He instead said the US is providing equipment "to be used to defend Ukrainian soil."