John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications at the White House, said Sunday the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine, but will not pressure the country to negotiate an end to the war with Russia.
“It’s time for the United States to continue to support Ukraine, and that’s what we’re doing,” Kirby said.
Kirby said the goal is to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his country prevail in the war so they are in a strong position to negotiate when that time comes. Kirby added Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no interest in peace talks, pointing to the latest airstrikes in Kyiv.
While G7 leaders were meeting in Europe on June 26, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said Russian airstrikes hit at least two residential buildings, killing at least one person, according to The Associated Press.
Last week, Russia reportedly struck a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine killing at least 20 people, while Russian missiles in Odesa killed at least 19 people Friday.
“President Zelenskyy, he gets to determine how victory is decided and when and on what terms,” Kirby said. “And [what] we’re going to do is continue to make sure that can succeed on the battlefield so that he can succeed at the table. But even President Zelenskyy will tell you that the time is not now for those discussions.”
The former Pentagon spokesman noted U.S. alone has spent over $7 billion to support the Ukrainians since the beginning of the war in February.
“We don’t want to see Ukraine defeated by Russia and that’s why we are continuing to rush aid and assistance,” Kirby said.
Meanwhile, on Monday Russia scored a victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk after Ukrainians withdrew their forces from the area on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
“Russia’s focus will now almost certainly switch to capturing Donetsk Oblast, a large portion of which remain under the control of Ukrainian forces,” tweeted the British Ministry of Defense.