Pentagon press secretary John Kirby redoubled the Biden administration’s strategy of using the threat of sanctions as a deterrent and rejected mounting calls for the imposition of pre-invasion sanctions, saying: “[Russian President Vladimir Putin] has not yet carried out another invasion of Ukraine and we still think there is time to prevent that.”
“It should be a deterrent. If you punish someone for something they haven’t already done, they might as well just go do it,” Kirby added. “And we hope that could influence Mr Putin’s calculation.”
Kirby said on Fox News Sunday that Putin still has many options on the table if he chooses to take a diplomatic turn to the tensions. some of our exercises in Europe, are willing to talk about offensive missile capabilities in Europe. We have certainly made other proposals to try and convince Mr Putin that we mean business.”
Kirby made it clear that the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, however, “is an issue for Ukraine and for NATO. That is not something that Mr Putin can just veto or decide for himself, that sort of thing is again between the alliance and Ukraine.”
Some context: Kirby won’t comment on individual Putin’s claims, but he characterized them as “outrageous claims” and generally said “these just aren’t credible.”
He said Putin is “playing the victim”, which he says is right out of the “Russian playbook”.
“It doesn’t fit the Russian playbook at all. He may now move military X’s and O’s around the field, but it seems like he’s using the same old playbook,” Kirby said, adding, “And I don’t want to make light of this one.” analogy. This is not a football game. This is potentially war and lives are at stake here.”