White House press secretary Jen Psaki sparred with Gray Television White House correspondent Jon Decker over sending “offensive weapons” to Ukraine at a Wednesday briefing.
Decker named a handful of the weapons listed in the $800 million assistance package to be sent to Ukraine, including 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles and 400 machine guns. He then asked the press secretary if she denies these being “offensive weapons,” to which she replied that they are to “help the Ukrainian people.”
“They can be used offensively, can they not?” Decker pressed.
“Again, what I’m talking about is weapons used to fight —”
“The answer is yes, I mean, although you don’t want to say it,” the reporter interrupted. “That answer to that question is yes. And so obviously you’re trying to make this distinction between offensive and —”
“Well we’re talking about … let me finish, let me finish, let me finish,” Psaki said. (RELATED: Reporter Suggests Biden Is Pushing Ukrainians To ‘Commit Suicide’)
“Let me finish, because I’ll give you my point,” Decker said. “I was finishing a point and then you can respond to my answer.”
The reporter repeated his claim that the weapons are “offensive” and can be used to take out Russian forces, then proceeded to ask why the administration is not sending more of these weapons to the Ukrainian military.
The press secretary said the administration is providing a wide range of weapons to the citizens of Ukraine in order to defend themselves against Russian aggression. She added there is a difference between planes and “massive military systems.”
President Joe Biden signed the package earlier Wednesday to provide 2,000 Javelin missiles, light-anti-armor and AT-anti-armor systems, and millions of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds, according to a White House fact sheet. The package did not, however, include Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s main requests for a no-fly zone and fighter jets.
Poland offered to send their MiG jets to a U.S. airbase in Ramstein, Germany, in order to transfer over to Ukraine. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied the request March 8, saying the Polish proposal is “not tenable.”