Psaki asked if the U.S. is ‘pushing’ Ukraine ‘to commit suicide’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at Monday’s press briefing if the U.S. was “pushing [Ukraine] to commit suicide” by refusing to engage Russian forces militarily and her response was to defer to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Russia indiscriminately bombing Ukrainian cities and civilian casualties mounting, NPR reporter Mara Liasson set the stage in asking about what other “severe consequences” would be used if Russia used chemical weapons, given that there will be no U.S. troops committed, no jets, and no no-fly zone. Psaki declined to detail what other actions are available, other than to assure Liasson that there are options that haven’t been used yet

“What about the argument that there just aren’t any more severe consequences for you to use because most of the severe ones you’ve ruled out?” the reporter followed up.

“That’s inaccurate,” Psaki replied.

Today News Africa correspondent Simon Ateba would pick up on that line of thought later, but not before asking, “Is there any reason why you have not condemned racism against Africans in Ukraine?”

After Psaki replied that the administration has “expressed concern about any reports of discrimination at the border,” Ateba then asked about the “endgame in Ukraine.”

“And then finally, if I may: I’m trying to understand where you’re trying — your endgame in Ukraine. You’re not going there. You’re not sending troops there. There will be no fly — no no-fly zone over Ukraine. And are you — will it be a fair assessment to say that you are pushing these guys to commit suicide, knowing that Russia is a superpower and, eventually, will capture the main cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv, and other these cities around there? What’s the endgame?”

Psaki’s response was to put the onus on Vladimir Putin.

“Well, the endgame is really a question for President Putin,” she said. “We have — we have completely crushed his economy. We have provided military assistance, humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainians, enabling them to fight back for far longer than the Russian leadership anticipated. And, again, he has to determine what the path forward looks like for him.”

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