During the White House press briefing on Thursday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the U.S. will continue coordinating with other nations to provide security assistance for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
- I would like to follow up on Patsy's question on the tanks for Ukraine. Poland says that it will deliver the tanks only as a part of a larger international coalition. And it's encouraging other countries to join. So I'm wondering if President Biden is considering joining this coalition by sending US Abrams tanks, and if he is encouraging other countries, including Germany, to do the same.
JOHN KIRBY: I won't get ahead of decisions on security assistance that haven't been made yet. We have been, I think, very effective at providing security assistance that evolves with the way the war has evolved. And, you know, now-- you know, two weeks ago, we were talking about Patriots and air defense. And today, you know, we're talking about armored vehicles and tanks. So I won't get ahead of the President decisions he's going to make.
As I said to Patsy, we're grateful for the support that other nations are providing. They each do it in their own way, in a size scale and scope and a pace that they're comfortable with. These are sovereign decisions, and we respect that. President Zelenskyy has said he's interested in tanks. And now, you have some countries that are showing a willingness to provide tanks. That's all to the good.
The United States will continue to provide our security assistance in the same way we have for the last 10 and a half months, working in lockstep with the Ukrainians and making sure that we're meeting their needs as best we can. And if we can't, that we're working with allies and partners to do the same.
And again, you asked about this coalition or alliance, again, we believe that there has been an incredible framework established already internationally to provide assistance, security assistance, specifically, to Ukraine. And that's through this Ukraine defense contact group. There's another meeting next week. We're very excited about that and looking forward to it.
- A follow-up, because the President says that the war is in a critical point. If the war is at a critical point, why wait? It takes time to train Ukrainians to operate those tanks.
JOHN KIRBY: Nobody's waiting. Nobody's waiting. I mean, almost every two weeks, like clockwork, we're getting up here and talking to you about billions of dollars of more assistance that are going to Ukraine. The United States is the leader of the world-- we've-- almost $25 billion since the start of this war. No other nation comes close to providing the kind of security assistance that we have.
It's not about waiting. It's about working in lockstep with Ukrainians, making sure that we understand their needs and capabilities, and delivering those capabilities the best way that we can. And when I say we, I don't just mean the US, I mean, the big we. And sometimes, those assets are not going to come from the United States. Sometimes, they're going to come from other nations. And maybe that's better for the Ukrainians, either because they can get there faster or because it's a capability that they're more comfortable using and won't need quite as much training and operation and maintenance on it. And there's lots of reasons-- lots of things that go into these decisions.