National Security Advisor Says Putin Is Now ‘Lashing Out’ in Ukraine

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Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, reported that there were Russian missile strikes in western Ukraine. The area of the strike was only 11 miles from the territory that belongs to NATO. The attack killed 35 people and injured 130 more and caused some to see a shift in the strategy coming from the Kremlin. 

The target of the missile strike was the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in the northwestern part of Lviv, according to the Associated Press. This target was a shift from the previous focus in the eastern and southern areas of Ukraine. 

Andriy Moskalenko, the deputy mayor of Lviv, was invited to speak on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said that the recent missile attack was “like a new edge in this war.”

Jake Sullivan, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said that this strike is not surprising to American intelligence. They knew that Putin planned to initiate attacks nationwide in Ukraine. 

What it shows is that Vladimir Putin is frustrated by the fact that his forces are not making the kind of progress that he thought that they would make against major cities including Kyiv, that he’s expanding the number of targets, that he’s lashing out and he’s trying to cause damage in every part of the country,” Sullivan noted.

This same theme was talked about on ABC’s “This Week.” John Kirby, the Defense Department spokesperson, said that this is the third area, which includes a military facility or airfield, that Putin’s army has hit in western Ukraine. He also noted that Russia is obviously broadening its target areas. 

This recent target was very near the border with Poland, a member of NATO. Senator Rob Portman who is co-chair of the Ukraine caucus was actually in Poland during the strike. He said that you could hear the bombing from his position in Poland. Portman talked about the emotions of many people in Ukraine who have lost their homes and have left loved ones behind. He said that there are many coming into Poland who is “distraught,” and they are coming with a common message which is loud and clear. They want the skies closed because of the destructive nature of the bombs and missile strikes. 

Kirby, the Defense Department spokesperson, said that a no-fly zone is not likely. He talked about his experience as a young officer on an aircraft carrier in the early 90s. Kirby said that you have to be willing to shoot and be shot at. It is combat. He also echoed President Biden’s commitment not to engage with Russia amid their war with Ukraine. 

Kirby believes that if the United States gets involved with fighting in the skies with Ukraine, it will mean war with Russia. He said it just does not make sense for there to be an escalation between two nuclear powers. 

Wendy Sherman, the Deputy Secretary of State, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the goal of the United States is to help Ukraine but not enter into direct conflict with Russia. She said that they plan to support Ukraine while putting a massive amount of pressure on Putin to ultimately end this war. 

With Putin changing his strategy and seemingly “lashing out” in Ukraine, there are growing concerns about Russia’s use of chemical weapons. The United States reported this week that Russia has the ability to use them but we can not predict the time or the place. 

Jake Sullivan said on CBS, “That is why we’ve gone out so decisively at the United Nations Security Council and elsewhere to rob the Russians of the capacity to pin this on anyone other than themselves. And as the president said on Friday, if in fact the Russians do use chemical weapons in Ukraine, they will pay a severe price.”

With so much uncertainty about Putin’s aggressive behavior, those who have made a stand against Russia will have to stay vigil and just as aggressive in their responses.