The White House downplayed threats made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov against material assistance coming into Ukraine after US President Joe Biden pledged to send more than $800 million in security assistance. On Friday, Lavrov said any weapons shipments entering Ukraine will be a “legitimate” target for Russia.
“That’s a threat that he has made before,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins during a press briefing Friday, adding that “there are no US troops operating inside Ukraine,” with all US forces operating exclusively in NATO territory.
“As we’re talking about the operations of the movement of convoys, and the movement of assistance, those are not the bodies that would be moving those assistance within Ukraine,” Psaki said. “We watch closely what the actions are, the continued escalatory actions of the Russians, and we will watch closely if they follow up on that threat.”
As CNN previously reported, Lavrov reportedly said the Russians had “made it very clear that any cargo that will enter the territory of Ukraine, which we will consider … [carrying] weapons, will become a legitimate target,” according to state TV channel RT. A number of NATO countries, including the US, have pledged military aid to Ukraine ranging from drones to anti-tank missiles.
Lavrov said Soviet and Russian-made missile defense systems, which are available to some NATO countries, cannot be legally transferred to third countries, according to TASS.
But Psaki added that some of the convoys were also bringing humanitarian assistance.
“We continue to have the means of getting that assistance in and we have effectively been doing that in recent days,” she added, “so we will continue to work through those channels.”
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Original Source : edition.cnn.com
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