- The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 2, 2022

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday blasted Sen. Josh Hawley, saying his push to get the Biden administration to drop its support for Ukraine‘s potential membership in NATO simply parrots “Russian propagandist leaders.”

“If you are just digesting Russian misinformation and parroting Russian talking points,” Ms. Psaki told reporters, “you are not aligned with long-standing bipartisan American values, which are to stand up for the sovereignty of countries like Ukraine and others; their right to choose their own alliances; and also stand against very clear efforts or potential attempts by a country to invade and take the territory of another country.”

She said, “That applies to Sen. Hawley but also others who may be parroting the talking points of Russian propagandist leaders.”

Mr. Hawley, Missouri Republican, is urging the Biden administration to back away from its pledge to support Ukraine‘s NATO membership, arguing that the move is not in the interest of the U.S. He also claimed the administration’s focus on Ukraine is a distraction from China’s growing influence in the Pacific region, according to a report in Axios.

The news outlet obtained a letter that Mr. Hawley sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and copied to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, seeking “clarity” about the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine‘s prospective membership in NATO.

“It is not clear that Ukraine‘s accession would serve U.S. interests,” Mr. Hawley wrote.

“Today, an increasingly powerful China seeks hegemony in the Indo-Pacific,” the lawmaker said. “If China succeeds, it could harness that region’s resources to further propel its rise, while restricting U.S. access to many of the world’s most important markets. Americans’ security and prosperity rest upon our ability to keep that from happening, and so the United States must shift resources to the Indo-Pacific to deny China’s bid for regional domination.”

Mr. Hawley wrote that the U.S. should “urgently deliver” any military assistance to help Ukraine fend off a potential Russian invasion, but he did not believe the U.S. should get involved in a war over escalating tensions between the two countries.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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