Psaki accuses Hawley of ‘parroting Russian talking points’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday accused Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and other conservatives of “parroting Russian talking points” amid the looming threat of conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Psaki was asked to respond to Hawley’s call for the Biden administration to abandon support for Ukraine’s eventual admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), arguing it would not be in U.S. interests to be bound to defend Ukraine militarily. 

“If you are digesting Russian misinformation and parroting Russian talking points, you are not aligned with longstanding bipartisan American values, which is to stand up for the sovereignty of countries like Ukraine, but others,” Psaki said at a press briefing.

“Their right to choose their own alliances, and also to stand against, very clearly, the efforts, or attempts or potential attempts by any country to invade and take territory of another country,” she continued. “That applies to Sen. Hawley, but it also applies to others who may be parroting the talking points of Russian propagandist leaders.”

Hawley responded by accusing the Biden administration of coddling Russia, citing its refusal to block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and suggesting the chaotic evacuation of U.S. forces from Afghanistan “emboldened our enemies worldwide.”

Axios reported earlier Wednesday that Hawley wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking clarity on how Ukraine’s future membership in NATO would benefit U.S. interests. 

The senator said he favored the U.S. sending assistance to Ukraine, but worried deploying troops to defend Ukraine through NATO obligations for member nations “can only detract from the U.S. military’s ability to ready and modernize forces to deter China in the Indo-Pacific.”

Hawley is one of a growing number of conservatives who have grown skeptical of backing Ukraine militarily in any conflict with Russia.

The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it is deploying and repositioning more than 3,000 troops to bolster Eastern European allies, the first such movement as the U.S. looks to bolster NATO’s capabilities in the region amid warnings that Russia could move imminently to invade Ukraine.

Tags Antony Blinken Jen Psaki Josh Hawley

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