John Kirby: ‘When the weather improves, the Russians will make additional offensive moves’
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby sat down with FRANCE 24’s Washington correspondent Kethevane Gorjestani to talk about the war in Ukraine, the United States’ diplomatic relations with China after the latter sent a spy balloon over its territory, and why the Iran nuclear deal is currently off the table.
On the topic of the war in Ukraine, Kirby described the vicious fighting currently taking place in the Donbass region, and especially around the city of Bachmut, and said the US expects the Russians to make another offensive push in the south in the near term.
“We do expect that when the weather improves, the Russians will try to make additional offensive moves anywhere along that front,” he said, noting that the US is trying to help the Ukrainians prepare for that.
“We’re working in lock step with the Ukrainians almost every day. And we communicate constantly with Ukraine about their needs for the fight,” he said.
As for Washington-Beijing relations, Kirby confirmed that the alleged spy balloon had effectively put an end to any advancement, at least for the time being.
Kirby recalled how President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping just a few months ago had vowed to be “responsible stewards” of US-China relations, but noted: “It’s harder to do that now given that the Chinese flew a high-altitude balloon intended for surveillance and intelligence collection right over our country”.
On a final note, Kirby touched on the issue of Iran, and in particular its’ suspected involvement in the war in Ukraine.
“By providing them (the Russians) hundreds of drones - with lethal capability – Iran is directly and demonstrably assisting Russia in this war. We’re going to keep holding the regime accountable,” he said, adding that the Iran nuclear deal therefore “is not on the agenda right now”.