White House Deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that President Joe Biden’s administration is unsure if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was joking about the supposed date of a Russian invasion.
Zelensky, in what appeared to be sarcasm, remarked Monday that Russia will invade Ukraine on Feb. 16. At a press briefing, a reporter questioned Jean-Pierre if the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) interpreted Zalensky’s statement to be “sarcasm or irony.”
🚨Ukraine’s Zelenskiy spooks markets with what appeared to be a sarcastic comment about the rest of the world predicting a date for a Russian attack, which he said should be a day of unity instead, @business reports.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 14, 2022
“So, I don’t have a read on that. Here’s what I can tell you about that,” Jean-Pierre replied. “I heard the statement but I haven’t actually heard it in its full context, so the irony of all of it I couldn’t speak to. But I’ll say this. While I am not going to speak to intelligence matters as I’ve said multiplies it already, our intelligence or intelligence sharing with [the] Ukrainians as we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time.”
“It remains unclear which path Russia will choose to take because we do not know, it is his [Putin’s] decision to make. We remain engaged with the Russian government in full coordination with our allies and partners. The path to diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage again constructively but we are clear-eyed about the prospects on the ground and are ready to impose severe costs on Russia in coordination of our allies and partners if they attack Ukraine.”
Ukraine presidential advisor Mykhailo Podoliak told CNN National Security correspondent Kylie Atwood that Zelensky ironically made the statement.
CNN has been told by Mykhailo Podoliak, a Presidential adviser, that Zelensky was being ironic with his comment –> https://t.co/RtPtmZOnyf
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) February 14, 2022
Biden communicated with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a 62-minute phone call Saturday, which led to no major changes in the country’s conflict with Ukraine. The U.S. continues to fear Russian invasion amid the country’s deployment of over 130,000 troops along Ukraine’s border. (RELATED: Several Thousand Ukrainians Gather In Protest Of Russian Invasion)
President Joe Biden approved the deployment of over 3,000 U.S. troops in early February to assist the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. The first U.S. troops landed at a military base near the Poland-Ukraine border on Feb. 5.