Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent allegation that “Western intelligence services” are involved in “terrorist attacks” carried out within Russia, saying Wednesday that the United States does not “enable or encourage Ukrainians to strike outside of Ukraine.”
CNN previously reported that during a meeting of Russia’s Security Council on Wednesday, Putin alleged without evidence that “terrorist attacks are regularly carried out against government officials and law enforcement agencies, journalists, public figures, school and university teachers. … Moreover, neo-Nazis and their accomplices operate not only on the territory of the new subjects of the Federation, but also commit crimes in other regions” – references to the Ukrainian regions Russia claims to have annexed, and the rest of the Russian regions.
“There is reason to believe that the potential of third countries of Western intelligence services is involved in the preparation of such sabotage and terrorist attacks,” Putin added.
Vladlen Tatarsky, a pro-Kremlin Russian military blogger, was killed by an explosion at a St. Petersburg café on Sunday. Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) said Monday that the explosion that killed him involved agents of the Ukrainian special services and associates of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Kirby underscored that American intelligence involvement has been aimed at helping Ukrainians defend their territory.
“(F)rom the early days of this war, we have been providing intelligence and information support to the Ukrainian armed forces to enable them to better defend themselves, to conduct operations and to continue to try to claw back territory that the Russians illegally took from them when they invaded – actually, even since 2014. And I won’t get into the details of what that intelligence is or how it’s delivered, but it is very much intended to help … them defend their territory,” Kirby said.
“We do not enable nor do we encourage the Ukrainians to strike outside of Ukraine. And I really just – I’m going to leave it at that,” he added.