The White House sought to distance the US Wednesday from recent reported Ukrainian attacks on Russia, saying that the US will “respect” Ukraine’s decisions on the battlefield but has not encouraged escalation.
National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby deferred to Ukraine for confirmation of who was responsible for recent reported strikes on Russia, but said the US has neither “encouraged” nor “enabled” any such attacks.
“We have not certainly not encouraged, nor have we enabled Ukraine to strike into Russia. Our focus has been — and remains on — making sure that they have the capabilities they need, the resources they need to defend themselves," Kirby said. "Everything that we're providing is really designed with that in mind.”
“We are providing them information to help them defend themselves. We certainly are providing them resources and material weapons to defend themselves. But they make their own decisions. And the whole idea, the whole principle behind this war is one of sovereignty and unlike the Russians, we respect Ukrainian sovereignty. When we give them a weapons system, it belongs to them, where they use it, how they use it, how much ammunition they use, to use in that system, those are, those are Ukrainian decisions and we respect that,” he added.
But any escalation outside of Ukraine’s borders, he said, is “not good” for US national security interests.
"We have clearly had conversations with [Ukraine] about accountability on weapons systems. We certainly have made it very clear our concerns about escalation. But in the end, these are Ukrainian decisions that they have to make and that they have to speak to one way or the other,” he told CNN.