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tv   State Department Spokesperson Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 10, 2022 11:18pm-12:26am EST

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equality. at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on afterwards, chair of the george w. bush council of economic advisers. he argues that government and business will need to invest more in american workers to offset job losses due to technology advances and globalization. he is interviewed by former economist. watch book tv every sunday on a c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide. or watch online anytime at book >> state department spokesman ned price answered questions in a briefing about providing fighter jets to ukraine, investigating russia for war crimes and diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the russian invasion in ukraine. this briefing runs just over an
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hour. ukraine and diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the russian invasion in ukraine. >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon. ok, a couple of elements at the top, then i will take your questions. the russian government's unprovoked, unjustified, and brutal invasion of ukraine continues to dominate the attention of the war. it was in this context that secretary blinken traveled to
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europe where he worked in service over the past few days of two primary objectives. first, to ensure that we continue to do everything we possibly can to support ukraine, its people, and its territorial integrity in every way we can. he stood with his ukrainian counterpart on ukrainian soil and reaffirmed that support. and we spoke to our humanitarian assistance for ukrainians in ukraine and for the more than 2 million ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes because of this criminal aggression. second, to ensure that we are sending a clear signal to moscow that it will continue to pay a steep price and that our commitment to the defense of our allies is ironclad. it's clear that the transatlantic partnership is united in strengthening our security assistance to ukraine, united in increasing our assistance to the people of ukraine and united in our efforts to impose cost in the
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kremlin for waging this ongoing war of choice. putin's military plan to quickly capture ukraine, it is clear now, has failed. so, he is now turning to a strategy of laying waste to population centers to try to break the will of the people of ukraine, something he will not be able to do. just yesterday we saw reports of russian airstrikes hitting the maternity hospital in mariupol. we have all seen the important images of that strike. and the fact that we would even need to put the terms maternity hospital and russian strike in the same sentence speaks to the level of brutality that the kremlin is inflicting on the people of ukraine. civilian deaths are multiplying, as is the destruction of civilian infrastructure. russian forces now encircle multiple ukrainian cities after having destroyed much of their critical infrastructure, leaving people without water, without electricity, without access to food and medicine. putin's relentless bombardment,
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including of civilians trying to flee for their lives prevents people from safely escaping the inhumane conditions that the kremlin has created. we continue to call on the russian government to allow civilians to safely depart cities and towns of ukraine that are besieged by russian forces. russia's brutality will make effective long-term control of ukraine impossible. ukrainian people have made it clear that they won't stand for it. putin can take a town, he can capture a city but it's already clear that he will fail in his efforts to take the country of ukraine and its people. we will continue to back the people of ukraine in their fight for their country through security, economic, and humanitarian assistance, and by uniting the international community to hold putin accountable through devastating sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and other measures. as vice president harris noted today the united states congress
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has committed $13.6 billion in humanitarian aid and security assistance to support ukraine and its people. we've imposed massive consequences on putin and his cronies for their aggression. the severity of these unprecedented measures is already having a dramatic impact. the ruble has gone through the floor. it is close to worthless, literally worth less than a penny. russia's credit rating is at junk status. its stock market remains closed and we have seen more than 300 companies halt or exit their operations in the russian market. putin can choose to cut his losses, extricate himself from this strategic morass by seeking to negotiate in good faith a diplomatic agreement with ukraine. president zelensky, for his part, has expressed interest in that and we have told ukrainian government in no uncertain terms that we stand ready to support any diplomacy it wishes to pursue. but, as we've always said, we will not push them into concessions.
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instead, the kremlin continues to spread outright lies, such as the allegation that the united states and ukraine are conducting chemical and biological weapons activities in ukraine, and their baseless claim that bombing a maternity hospital is fake news. this is from a government that is now using many measures to hide the truth from its own people. the kremlin viciously targets journalists and floods the internet and airways with disinformation, both around the world and at home in russia. many people in russia have no idea what their government is doing right now in ukraine. they may think they are liberating ukraine, not destroying it. they don't know the extent to which their fellow countrymen, their husbands, their sons, their brothers, are coming home in body bags. if the russian government bothers to bring them home at all. the response to the kremlin's war has been unity among world leaders, in europe, people gathering around the world to
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protest president putin's war of choice including thousands of , people in russia and belarus coming out to protest peacefully. in the end, we know that russia will be weaker, not stronger, for launching this war. already, the international community, including nato, is stronger and more purposeful than it has been in any recent history. before we take questions, one additional note at the top, tomorrow on friday, march 11 the state department has the honor of hosting the eighth united states african union high-level -- african union commission high-level dialogue. these regular meetings are important to advance cooperation between the united states and the african union commission and its member states on shared global and regional priorities. the high-level dialogue brings together u.s. government and african union commission stakeholders to advance our shared goal and priorities of democracy, climate, and energy and global health security as well as u.s./africa
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collaboration on trade and investment, peace and security and governance as well. the united states has shown a long-standing commitment to enhancing global health security via our partnership with the african union commission and the africa centers for disease control and prevention. we will underscore our expanding engagement by signing a memorandum of cooperation with the african cdc, during this dialogue. we are pleased to welcome uc -- ouc chairman -- ouc chairman, moussa faki, accompanying commissioners and the entire delegation. the united states has an unwavering and a long-standing commitment to africa. we are proud of our partnership with the commission and the people in governments of africa. we look forward to constructive engagement this week to further our common objectives and to the steady work ahead. with that, i am happy to take questions. >> it is a lot to go through. i will be as brief as i can. this morning in warsaw, the vice president said, among other things that she supported investigations into potential war crimes by the russians in
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ukraine. and then a little while ago, the ambassador to the united nations came out and flatly said that the russians had committed war crimes in ukraine. i am curious, presumably these were not personal opinions being offered, but i do not know. so i want to make sure. does the administration, one, believe that russia has committed war crimes in ukraine, and, two, are you pushing for an investigation, a war crimes investigation, and if you are, by whom? because we all know well russia is not a member of the icj, neither is ukraine, and the united states isn't either. are you looking at an ad hoc kind of tribunal? or what is the situation? >> we absolutely are supportive of efforts to document and to investigate reports of potential war crimes in ukraine. the fact is that we have seen
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very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would, under the geneva conventions, constitute a war crime. and the elements at the top, i spoke to the strike at the maternity ward in mariupol. we have seen strikes hitting schools, other hospitals, residential buildings, civilian buses, cars, ambulances have been shelled over the course of this brutal conflict. we have seen reports of civilian death tolls in ukraine numbering from the hundreds to the thousands. we are appalled by the brutal tactics that the russian federation, the kremlin has employed in prosecuting this war of choice. we have spoken to our support for efforts to document what may in the end amount to war crimes. you named a couple of them. the icj is one such venue, we supported an effort at the u.n.
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to establish a commission of inquiry into the same area. the icc itself has made an announcement that it will open an investigation into the situation, and we do welcome that. we do welcome the prosecutor kah -- khan's announcement, in particular, the prosecutor is focused on preserving elements of alleged atrocity crimes and his commitment to full respect for the principles of complementarity. here is the thing. we are not only going to document, we are not only going to support these appropriate international investigations, we are not only going to support the efforts of individual nation states, but working together with the international community, we are determined to hold responsible anyone who may have engaged in such human rights abuses, atrocities, even war crimes. we will do that again through
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any number of forms. criminal prosecutions are one possibility, but to every political leader sitting in moscow, to every russian commander on the ground in ukraine, to every russian servicemember on the ground right now, our message has been clear. if you take part, order, or are party to such war crimes, such abuses, such atrocities, we will do everything we can to hold you accountable with every tool at our disposal. >> can i just ask you the broader question? especially as it relates to the icc, you welcoming this investigation by the icc prosecutor. you haven't always welcomed investigations with the icc that icc prosecutors have gone into. in fact, under the previous administration, an investigation into potential war crimes in afghanistan was met with actual sanctions.
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icc staff and the u.s. has consistently warned the icc not to take up cases involving israel. given neither ukraine and russia -- nor russia is a member of the icc and for the icc to take up a case involving a nonmember would require the u.n. security council vote which is doomed, since the russians will veto it. where exactly do you think that justice will come from here? >> not only is neither russia nor ukraine a state party to the statue. neither are we. as you know, the concerns we have over the icc, uncertain jurisdiction in certain circumstances, those remain. those have not gone away. but at the same time -- >> you have those concerns only if the u.s. is being investigated or israel? >> the united states has the
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capability and wherewithal to conduct thorough investigations. our concerns over the icc's assertion of jurisdiction in some areas, those do remain. but we recognize the meaningful role that the icc can play in promoting accountability for atrocities. we have supported and will continue to support the iccs efforts in certain cases. >> you and others in the administration have warned that you expect russia to double down, there's going to be more civilian casualties. i want to ask you, boris johnson says he is worried that russia might use chemical weapons. does the united states share that concern? >> we have spoken to this concern in recent hours. those concerns are predicated on a couple elements. first, we know the history here.
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we know the track record of the kremlin. this is a government that has used banned chemical weapons on its own people in the past. they've done so on russian territories. they've done so on british soil. they have supported the brutal assad regime which itself has used banned chemical weapons on its people. so we know what this government will resort to, has resorted to -- can resorted -- can resort to, has resorted to in the past. the other element that gives us a good deal of concern is what we know about the kremlin's tactics, especially disinformation tactics. in recent weeks, we have seen once again indications of what a psychologist might call projection of the russian
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government accusing others, in this case whether it is ukraine or the united states, what others may be planning to do. >> have you guys seen any intelligence, any indication, anything from the ground, from their military deployment, to suggest that there is this fear? that it is warranted? >> we do have this concern for at least a couple of reasons, and i've spoken to two of them. moscow's track record in this regard and the increasingly concerning rhetoric that may be construed as once again, moscow projecting onto others what it has intended to do all along. the fact is that as this crisis builds up, as moscow builds up its forces, we have seen them engage in this type of rhetoric and this type of disinformation previously. we've seen the false flag
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operations and the potential provocations that moscow puts forward. so, there are a number of elements that undergird our concern for this. it is something we will be watching closely. >> can you give of the sense of the kind of scenario the u.s. is looking at now, is nato being sucked into war and how prepared are you for that? >> our overriding objective is to bring this conflict to a close, to save lives, to do all we can to bring this conflict to an end. as a complementary objective, we are doing everything we can to see to it that this conflict does not expand. that this conflict is not cost even more lives. that is this brutal conflict that russia is waging against ukraine does not become a war between russia and a much broader set of countries or a broader block. we are supporting our ukrainian
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partners. we are providing them with massive amounts of security assistance precisely what it is , they need to defend themselves. and i think we have seen in the fact that putin's forces have been largely stalled in parts of the country is a testament to the effectiveness of the will, the willpower of ukrainian people who are taking on these forces with security assistance that the united states, that our nato allies and others have provided to them. >> you do realize that is not what i asked. are you guys actively looking at a scenario where nato is involved or sucked into this? >> we are always looking at contingencies, but in this case, we are doing everything we can to ensure that in the first instance, this conflict comes to
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a close as quickly as it can be achieved, in order to save lives and to ensure we do everything we can to see to it that the conflict doesn't expand beyond what it already entails. >> you mentioned you are looking at everything the ukrainians need to fight. one of the things they're asking for is aircraft and jets. after the back-and-forth with poland over the last few days, has the u.s. made a final determination that the risk-benefit of nato country -- nato countries sending combat aircrafts to ukraine is not in favor of sending them. are you ruling out that nato countries should send combat
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aircraft to ukraine or you still looking at other ways to transfer planes to them? >> we have been consistently responsive to ukraine's security needs. that is reflected in the vast amount of security assistance we have provided to our ukrainian partners in the last year, more than $250 million has been delivered to our ukrainian partners in the last several days alone. on top of that, we are grateful to the u.s. congress and you heard from the vice president today, there is now a package that passed the house of $13.6 billion, about half of which would be destined for security assistance for ukraine. so it is part of our desire to be responsive, to ukraine's requests. when our ukrainian partners made a request for planes, we said we would absolutely look into it.
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you heard from the department of defense yesterday that the department has localized two primary concerns. the first concern is that aircraft are not principally what our ukrainian partners need at the moment. and that is the case for a couple of reasons. when you look at the destruction that the kremlin has wrought over parts of ukraine, much of that is due to missiles. much of that is due to rocket fire. much of that is due to artillery. these are not weapons that airplanes are best suited to take on. we also know that the ukrainian air force has several squadrons of fully capable mission aircraft. russia's air presence is formidable, but their effectiveness has been limited due to ukraine's strategic operational and tactical
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ground-based air defense systems. these are surface to air missiles. these are men pads. what you heard from the default -- department of defense yesterday, we will continue to provide our ukrainian partners with the surface to air systems that they need to take on the threat that they face from russian missiles, from russian rockets, from artillery. we have been doing that already. we are determining what more we might be able to do to effectively equip our ukrainian partners to take this on. but there is a second consideration you heard the department of defense speak to yesterday, the intelligence community produced an assessment that the provision of planes in this manner, the fighter jets that you refer to, in this manner, could be viewed i moscow -- by moscow as escalatory. it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to bring this
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conflict to a close, to save his -- to save as many lives as we can and to do everything we can to see to it that this conflict does not expand. that it does not become a broader war between russia and other countries or blocks of countries. so we will continue to provide our ukrainian partners with the assistance they need, individual countries are going to continue to make their sovereign decisions in terms of the assistance to provide. but what the department of defense did say yesterday is that the provision of polish planes by way of u.s. and nato airbase, by way of the united states, is not something we are in a position to do at this time. >> first, on the issue of war crimes you said we have seen incredible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians which would under the geneva convention constitute war crimes. you reference the attack on the maternity ward.
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when you say we've seen very credible evidence, under the geneva conventions would constitute war crimes, what is the difference? >> we've seen very credible reports. part of the reason we welcome the prosecutor general's announcement of the investigation into the situation in ukraine is the focus on the preservation of evidence. we want to see evidence preserved. we are and will be in the process of marrying reports with evidence from the ground, and if we determine, if the international community determines that war crimes have been committed, that atrocities have been committed, that human rights abuses have been committed, we will hold the perpetrators accountable whether it is in moscow or there are commanders on the ground in ukraine. >> i take what john kirby said over the reasons you just outlined about the pentagon's objection to the fighter planes.
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the way it was constituted and why they are not necessary and why the antiaircraft defenses would require greeting that airspace by attacking and taking out russians in the air force. the very point you just made about what the ic has concluded, that delivering the planes could be viewed by russia as an escalatory measure, as an act of war, that question was put to president zelensky by my colleague last night. he said, what could be worse than what is happening right now to ukraine? where we -- why are we so concerned, i mean russia had said that sanctions are an act of war. just because vladimir putin declares something as an act of war, certainly not according to president zelensky, is not a reason not to do it.
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i understand all the military arguments against it. i'm just saying from president zelensky's viewpoint, this has become a cause. it is echoed by all the people we interview on the ground there who want the fighter jets. how do you deal with that? what could be worse and what is -- than what is happening to their country? by the time you get to some sort of negotiated compromise with putin backing down, the country will be destroyed. >> we have the utmost respect and admiration for president zelensky. the courage, the bravery of the determination, the grit that he has demonstrated in many ways, he is the personification of the ukrainian people. people that have stood up to this russian aggression in ways
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that are inspiring, not only inspiring but effective. if you heard this from secretary blinken. if any other world leader were in president zelensky shoes, i'm sure we would be hearing the same requests. it is incumbent upon us in the international community to continue to do everything we can to support our ukrainian partners, to provide them with the defensive weaponry that they need to defend themselves. it is equally incumbent upon us to do everything we can, again with our partners and allies around the world, to bring this conflict to a close as quickly as we can. clearly, we aren't going to be able to bring this conflict to a close as quickly as anyone would like, certainly not as quickly as our ukrainian partners would like, not as quickly as we would like, of course.
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but in our efforts to do so, we also have to be mindful of that it might provoke, expand this conflict, that might make it even more difficult and implicate more countries and more populations. so that is what we are doing. you raise president putin -- president putin's statement that sanctions and other elements would be akin to an act of war. of course, take a close look at rhetoric. what matters to us our actions, and the judgment i mentioned from the intelligence community, i can assure you that that judgment is based on more than public rhetoric alone. the intelligence community, using everything at its disposal, has reached a conclusion that moscow could well see the provision of this type of asset as escalatory. that is not dispositive in terms of what we would do, but that coupled with what we've heard
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from colleagues at the pentagon that there are other, more effective systems, namely the surface to air systems, that would better safeguard, better protect our ukrainian partners from rockets, from missiles, from artillery, from the very threats that they face, that is what has compelled us to move. -- us to this conclusion. >> they want both. they say that they need both the surface to air stuff and the planes. the u.s. government is now in the position of having told zelensky know when he was begging repeatedly for the nordstrom to -- nord -- nord stream to sanctions to be imposed before any kind of invasion, not to be used as a deterrent threat, but to actually impose them before.
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he's asked about a no-fly zone and you said absolutely not. you are saying no. now he is asking for jets and now you're saying no. do you know better than him? >> first of all, i don't quite understand your nord stream 2 analogy. within hours of the russian invasion moving forward, nord stream 2 was off the table. nord stream two was of steel. >> for months he wanted those sanctions to be imposed. >> had we imposed sanctions on nord stream 2 had we disrupted that transatlantic unity that we worked over the course of months, really from day one of this administration to achieve, had we impose those sanctions on -- imposed of those sanctions on nord stream 2 ourselves, unilaterally, i would bet a strong sum that nord stream 2 would not be taken off the table today. >> you may be right. we will never know.
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the point is that zelensky had asked for all these things and you said no to all these things at least at the time he made them. you are still saying that you respect their opinion and position. it is unusual. would you still support any nato country sending planes to ukraine on their own? >> individual nato allies are going to make sovereign decision s on what they deem to be the best interest. that would be a sovereign decision. what we are talking about was the arrangement i which planes -- by which planes would be transferred to the airbase. they would pass through our session -- >> you are opposed to having anything to do with it. >> the department of defense has concluded there are other systems that we have provided and may be in a position to provide even more, that would be
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more effective for our ukrainian partners. in taking on the threats they face. >> i have two questions, a couple of recent facts first. president zelensky called the german government's immoral position regarding the russian invasion as well as george's decision to block the charter flight scheduled to bring in volunteers from georgia to ukraine. zelensky recalled ukrainian ambassador from georgia based on that. the georgian prime minister said flat out that georgia will not join the sanctions coming from the west. he called those sanctions ineffective. also the georgian government finalized a deal with moscow and now products will be exported to the west. moscow published a list of countries a few days ago an , unfriendly list as they called
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it, and georgia was excluded from that unfriendly list. bearing in mind that 20% of georgian territory is still occupied by russia and 30 years of relations between u.s. and georgia, my question would be, what would be your reaction of the silence coming from the georgian government, in light of those facts that i just laid out? i may have a follow-up on that. >> i will say when it comes to georgia that few countries understand to the same extent the potential implications and consequences of russian aggression that a country like georgia. a country that was itself invaded by russian forces. there are many georgians who still harbor stark memories of that, and i can only imagine there are many georgians who are standing, many in the government and private citizens, who are
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standing in solidarity with their counterparts in ukraine. more broadly, i think what we've seen over the course of the past several weeks has been tremendous, in some ways unexpected, amount of unity within the international community. i think perhaps the best illustration of that is what happened in the u.n. general assembly just last week when 141 countries spanning the globe came together to condemn this unprovoked, premeditated, unjustified war against ukraine, and to call for it to come to a close. 141 may just be a number, but this is a collection of countries that the u.n. system sees only rarely. in 2014, when russia last a grassed against -- invaded
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ukraine, 100 countries signed on to the resolution of the yuan -- u.n. assembly condemning that act. in 2016, when russian forces were bombarding the syrian town of aleppo, 122 countries came and signed on to the condemnation of that action. the fact that 141 countries across the globe have spoken to this speaks to the fact that we are working and we are speaking with one voice, to the effectiveness of the sanctions, i think it is hard to argue with their effectiveness. you can look at any number of metrics regarding the toll they have taken on the russian economy. i've spoken to the fact that the ruble is now virtually worthless, literally worth less than a penny.
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the flight of international companies from moscow, the fact that the russian central bank has doubled its interest rate. something that would be unsustainable over the longer term, the fact that inflation is rising as a result, the fact that the russian stock market has remained closed for days now, presumably as a means to prevent capital loss. -- capital flight. there are any number of metrics we can talk to in terms of the effectiveness of the sanction. the sanction that cannot be argued is the measures lack strength. i think you can see in terms of the russian economy the strength that they carry. >> the fact that zelensky is recalling the ambassador and the fact that the prime minister of georgia is calling those sanctions ineffective, do you think that is a concerning signal coming from georgia? >> we are calling on all countries to stand up for not
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only the sovereignty and territorial integrity and independence of ukraine, really what is at the center of the conflict, but to stand up for the broader principles that are at the heart of the rule-based order that have undergirded 70 some years of unprecedented levels of stability, security prosperity the world over. the same principle that russia violated in 2008 when russian forces invaded georgia is the same principle that vladimir putin is violating today. the idea that borders should be inviolable, that you countries, -- that big countries cannot bully small countries, small nations. the idea that might does not equate to right. all of these things are being conceptualized, whether in europe, the indo pacific and anywhere in between.
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we have called on countries the world over to stand with ukraine and to stand with these broader principles. >> you said it is important that -- he said that you would support any diplomatic pursuit by ukraine. does that include maybe their decision to swear off membership in nato at any time ever? would you support that? >> this is really at the heart of this conflict and goes back to what i was saying to your colleague. the principle that we have stood up for and that the international community has stood up for is that each and every country should have the right, the sovereign right to determine its own chosen foreign policy, its own chosen path, with whom it associates, the alliances that it belongs to. these are going to be sovereign decisions of the ukrainian government and no one else. >> if they say we will never be members of nato, russia's
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interest in crimea. >> this is what is that at stakes, the ability for independent countries to make sovereign decisions. that's what we support. >> on the issue of the support of weapons, flooding ukraine with all kinds of weapons from all kinds of sources, desire concern for the future? will we see a situation to what we saw in syria? or anything like that? >> right now what we see is the ukrainian people, the ukrainian military, standing up against an aggressor, standing up against an invading army that has sought to rewrite international borders, that has sought to remove ukraine's sovereign rights. really it sovereign identity. so right now we are supporting the ukrainian government, we are
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supporting the ukrainian people in their ability to do just that. >> so unqualified support for ukrainians to resist the russian invasion and so on. for any occupied people to resist, to that extent to other places like for the palestinians or maybe the -- in iraq, do they have the right to resist occupation? >> self-defense is a principle that belongs to all countries. >> it does belong to people. including the palestinians? >> all countries have the right to self-defense, yes. >> going back to ukraine for a minute, during the meeting between lavrov, apparently a zelensky meeting was discussed. the u.s. has said now is not the time for diplomacy but would you guys supported if both guys -- sides agreed?
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>> we would support our ukrainian partners in the diplomatic overtures that they wish to take part in. that does not mean that we would have necessarily high hopes at the moment. before the meeting today, the foreign minister said he had low expectations for what the meeting with minister lavrov could achieve. it's unclear to us and maybe in -- may be unclear to our ukrainian partners that even those low expectations were met. we've heard from the foreign minister in his public comments after meeting with lavrov that what the russian federation continues to purport to seek is surrender of ukraine. clearly that is not something that can be achieved or resolved or addressed through diplomacy.
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our concern in all of this, and this is a concern that predates the start of the invasion, we actually spoke to this before the invasion began, is that the russian federation is taking part in something you might call the pretense of diplomacy. going through the diplomatic motions, sometimes theatrically, sometimes at high levels, in this case the russian federation invest its resources, its efforts, not in the machinery of diplomacy, but in the machinery of war. that is what we saw prior to the invasion. it is our concern that what we are seeing now continues to be little more than a procedural pretense with foreign minister lavrov, prior to that, lower ranking officials, taking part in these diplomatic gatherings. the challenge for russia though is really twofold.
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i've mentioned this before, vladimir putin's war effort is not going according to plan, unless of course it was his plan to meet stiff resistance from the ukrainian people, for his convoy to be bogged down, for his soldiers to be encountering heavy losses. i do not expect that was his plan. the other challenge that president putin now faces is that his economy is in a freefall. we've spoken to the metrics, i don't need to go into that again. not only is his economy in a freefall, his financial system is flailing. but perhaps even more importantly, his strategic positioning in the world now, and certainly going forward, it is similarly diminished. in our estimation, the status
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quo in some ways is not tenable for moscow. so even if it is engaging in little more than a pretense now, the pressure it is encountering on the battlefield, the economic dire straits that it is in fact at home -- in back at home. it is certainly our hope that those forces will combine and it will push the russian federation to the negotiating table in a way that actually involves good faith, in way that involves a genuine effort and desire to bring this conflict, to diminish the violence, and also lead to -- and ultimately bring the conflict to a close. we haven't seen that yet, we will continue to mount pressure on the kremlin and president putin until we do. >> is there reason to believe that putin would come to the table in good faith now if you were to meet with president zelensky? you said everything they've done is a pretense, is your
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expectation that said meeting possibly would also be not actual effort toward a diplomatic end? mr. price: it would entail a change of course. we would need to see the russian federation show up with a different position. reporter: just one more. beyond what you guys are saying publicly to russia, are you getting any private messages to russian officials, either directly through our diplomats that remain at the embassy, or through third parties, are you clearly stating what you're saying publicly to them privately as well? mr. price: i would say there are a number of countries around the world who have engaged the russian federation, including at senior levels. as you know, on her way home from europe last week, we stopped in paris. sorry this week. ,secretary blinken had an opportunity to meet with president macron. a large part of the discussion was president macron's engagement with president putin,
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with france's engagement with the russian federation. we had a chance in europe to meet with of israel. the foreign minister of israel. the prime minister was recently in moscow in a large portion of that meeting was dedicated to comparing notes and hearing from our israeli partners what they had heard internally from russia. chancellor scholz having engaged with the russian federation. president biden spoke to president erdogan of turkey. turkey hosted today's ministerial level meeting today. all of these diplomatic efforts are being well coordinated with us. we have very good visibility and insight into what these efforts entail, what our allies and partners have heard or not heard as the case might be from the russian federation. and in turn, our allies and partners have a very good idea of where the united states is. and should they need to convey
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anything about the united states, that is at their discretion. reporter: ok so there is no u.s. , direct contact to russia right now? mr. price: there was a meeting as you know on the books between , secretary blinken and minister lavrov a couple of weeks ago now. we determined at the time that under the present conditions, those strategic conditions have not changed. that the time was not right for engagement between the united states and russia in this regard. >> has the ambassador met with any russian officials? mr. price: it's the job of an abbasid are everywhere to meet with the host governor -- government. so that work continues. reporter: are you somewhat disappointed in the absence of a position by the palestinian authority on ukraine? we know that the palestinians complain that we don't have a government and all these things.
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but they do have -- on the issue of occupation. are you in touch with them, have you spoken with them, are you disappointed in the israelis? mr. price: again, a large part of the conversation we had with the foreign minister just a couple of days ago now was focused on ukraine, our israeli partners made very clear to us that they stand in stark opposition to the naked use of force and aggression against a sovereign state. they made that very clear in private and have made it very clear in public. when it comes to other countries, to other entities that may have been guarded or may not have made such a clear statement, we said before that now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. now is the time for every country, every entity, every bloc, every alliance around the
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world to make clear whether they stand on the side of the very principles that have been at the heart of our international system over the better part of a decade, or whether those principles that may have claimed to spouse are entirely hollow. countries around the world need to make that clear. this is not a time for equivocation. this is not a time for ambiguity. we have been heartened by the fact that the vast majority of the world's countries have stood up, some in the form of e.u. -- of u.n. general assembly vote, some by exercising their voice on the world stage, some through other forms, have stood up to clearly and starkly condemn this. we are encouraging countries, entities, alliances and blocks s around the world to do just that. reporter: two questions actually. the kremlin lies on chemical and
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biological activity in ukraine -- i'm sure you notice yesterday the big show about it. mr. price: i did not catch that. reporter: anyway, there are reports that it is funded by the u.s. could you explain in contrast to what the kremlin says, and do you have any comments on the meeting between the former german chancellor and putin right now in moscow? mr. price: between the former chancellor and vladimir putin? to be very clear, the united states government does not own or operate biological laboratories in ukraine. full stop. just as we have done in countries around the world,
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experts have assisted ukraine at times with laboratory safety issues. but that is the extent of the activity. ukraine is in full compliance with the biological weapons convention. it is in full compliance with the chemical weapons convention. of course, the same cannot be said of russia. russia has an active biological weapons program. it's in violation of the bwc as i mentioned before. russia has previously employed some of these very chemical agents against dissidents and perceived enemies of the ukrainian government. we know that the best antidote to disinformation is information. that goes back to some of the questions we've spoken to in this briefing already as part of the reason why we went on record pretty vigorously yesterday with our concerns, with our concerns pushing back on the propaganda, on the disinformation that we
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are seeing emanate from russia, from russian state media, from russian officials, and we want to do everything we can to ensure that disinformation isn't spread by those who may be unwitting or may have a different agenda. when it comes to the former german chancellor and his engagement with president putin, we wouldn't have a comment on that activity. it's not something we would typically comment on nor is it something we would coordinate in the action of a private citizen. reporter: south korea elected its next president yesterday and at the same time north korea launched two missile tests on march 4 and february 26. our those lodges targeted toward
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interfering the presidential in election of south korea and what is the u.s. plan to prevent further escalation of north korea? mr. price: you heard this from the president last night, but we congratulate the president elect on the election. the alliance between the united states and our ally in the republic of korea along with our economic ties and close friendship of our people, it remains the linchpin for peace, security and prosperity in the indo-pacific. to your question, we are committed to the defense of the rok and we look forward to working with president-elect yeun deepening our cooperation with security challenges that we both
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confront. at the top of that list when it comes to the indo-pacific is the threat that is posed by nuclear the weapons and ballistic missile programs of the dprk. i do not want to speak to possible motivation about any dprk ballistic missile launches. this is something the dprk has done fairly consistently over the years. in recent months, we have seen a spate these launches. whether any particular launch had a particular motivation in mind, that is not something i would speak to. these are ballistic missile launches and we have been very clear that we condemn the ballistic missile launch. this launch like the other lodges earlier this year is a clear violation of a multiple u.n. security council resolutions.
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it demonstrates the threat that is posed by the dprk with its weapons of mass destruction and its missile program. these are threats that strike at peace and security within the indo-pacific and beyond. that is why we have stood resolutely with the international community called , on the dprk to abide by the security council resolutions and to refrain from further provocation and to engage in substantive and sustained dialogue. our commitment to our treaty allies in the indo-pacific including japan, the republic of korea, it is ironclad. we will continue to work closely with them on the type of pragmatic, practical steps that we believe can help achieve the complete denuclearization of the korean peninsula. reporter: can you be more specific what exactly the u.s. is going to do to prevent more
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launches or escalations from -- on korea? mr. price: we will continue to hold the dprk accountable for its fragrant violation of u.s. -- u.n. security council resolutions. we have imposed a number of sanctions and designations on the regime in recent weeks along. the u.n. security council has taken up this challenge with urgency. we continue to reach out to the dprk. we are committed to pursuing a diplomatic approach to this challenge. we have made clear that we have no hostile intent towards the dprk and we are prepared to meet with the dprk. we have extended this offer. it is up to the dprk to determine whether they wish to engage in the serious and sustained diplomacy that we think can address security challenges to help achieve our
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ultimate objective of the complete denuclearization of korea. reporter: can you update us on what is happening, we had the impression last week that we were looking at the imminent arrival of a deal last week. and second, the former vice president pence said we were not going to endorse a deal with iran. mr. price: i do not have a comment on that. i do not have a comment on the remarks of a private citizen. what it comes to iran and negotiations in vienna, there has been significant progress. we remain close to a deal. it is a down to a small number of outstanding issues. but the reason these particular issues are outstanding is because they are among the most difficult ones. i am reminded of a former president who had a sign on his hard things are hard.
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desk saying that and they are outstanding -- former president you had a sign on his desk that hard things are hard. the are outstanding. now is the time for all parties to show seriousness. we continue to believe but we can and should be able to meet a mutual return to compliance with the gop that seems to be because behind of the little advances that we have seen in the recent month and the past >> are you concerned russian rights oil a deal? mr. price: we are at the final stage of what has been an 11 month negotiation. there is very little time remaining to test the proposition as to whether we can achieve a mutual return to compliance with the jcpoa. we have urged all parties, and that includes the russian federation, to focus on resolving the final remaining issues so that we can achieve our shared objective.
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that is in iran, that is permanently and verifiably barred from ever obtaining a new -- nuclear weapon. that is not only our objective. the russian federation was and is a party. russia was there when the jcpoa was negotiated and consummated. in 2014 and 2015. it is manifested in our interest and manifestly in the interest of our close european allies here and also happens to be in the interest of the people's republic of china and the russian federation to see that iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon. reporter: did you guys actually engage with russia on this last demand that they tried to impose last week, last saturday? mr. price: so robert malley remains in vienna. he has had a chance to meet with the envoys, his fellow p5 plus
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one envoys in discussion. we have made it very clear in the context of the p5 plus one in vienna that the new russian related sanctions are only -- holy -- wholly unrelated to the jcpoa and should not have any impact on a potential mutual return to compliance or its ultimate implementation. we have no intention of offering russia anything new or specific as it relates to the sanctions, nor anything new, required to successfully reach a requirement to reach mutual compliance with the jcpoa. reporter: russia remains one of the main roadblocks to achieving understanding. mr. price: there are a small number of issues. the russian federation speak to i will let what is they are seeking. we are encouraging all parties including russia to focus on resolving a small set of issues. to achieve a mutual return to
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compliance. reporter: last week there was a spike in assaults by israeli and palestinian citizens. the british consulate general came out and called on the israelis for restraint and calm. do you expect russia to say something similar against use of to advise deadly force? mr. price: you have heard from any number of individuals including the ambassador. we believe that it is critical for israel and the palestinian authorities to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance what remains to be our desired outcomes. that is a two-state solution. that certainly includes violence of all types. thank you all very much. reporter: on the venezuela, are
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you expecting any further outreach? mr. price: first, on venezuela. let me first reiterate what is been the big news and that has been that we gladly recognize the return of jorge alberto fernandez. there release would not have been possible without tireless efforts of individuals in this building and throughout this administration. those efforts were led by our special envoy for hostage affairs. even as we celebrate the return of these two americans, we are going to continue working every day to bring home every u.s. national held hostage are -- u.s. national held hostage or wrongfully detained in the world, including those who remain wrongfully detained in venezuela. we said this before and we said
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in unison with our allies and partners around the world that the practice of wrongfully detaining third country nationals represents a threat to the safety, security, of everyone traveling, working, and living abroad. we oppose this practice anywhere and everywhere. one of the purposes of the visit was to ensure the health and well-being of u.s. nationals detained by the regime in venezuela and into press for their release. we were able to welcome home two of them. certainly, the delegation assad -- saw it -- sawtooth -- sought to ensure the health and well-being of all of those detained. we also noted medeiros' statements that he is willing to return to negotiations with the unitary platform, which we believe could be an important
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and positive step. we continue to believe that venezuelan let comprehensive negotiation, they represent the best mechanism available to restore venezuelan democracy and the rule of law. that is why we support the unitary platform's goal of immediately resuming negotiations to bring back free and fair elections, as well as respect for human rights in venezuela. the other big element of the delegation was the need to make progress on the democratic aspirations of the people of venezuela. we will continue to press that case. we will continue to do everything we can with the unitary platform. but also through other channels, to support the democratic of the venezuelan people. aspirations thank you all. there has been no change. we recognize guido as the interim president.
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announcer: c-span's "washington journal." every day we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day. discuss policy issues that and we impact you. the ceo of the center for new american security discusses how the russian invasion has changed the post cold war order. and then a member of the foundation for defense of democracy talks about agreements to restore the 2015 iran nuclear deal. watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern. each morning on c-span or c-span now, our new mobile app. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts and tweets. announcer: on c-span, the u.s.
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ambassador to nato talks to the washington post about the allied response on in the russia-ukraine conflict. and how nato is working to keep the war from spreading. live coverage starts at 11 a.m. eastern. at 12:15 p.m., president biden gives a keynote address at the house democratic retreat in philadelphia. on c-span two, live coverage of the house democratic retreat in philadelphia begins at 9 a.m. eastern, and will be screaming at or out our free video app, c-span now. >> i'm pleased to nominate judge jackson. for her extraordinary qualifications and extraordinary intellect. >> i am humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination, and i am especially grateful for the care that you have taken in discharging your
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constitutional duty in service of our democracy with all that is going on in the world today. announcer: president biden nominates judge jackson to the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit to replace justice breyer on the supreme court. if confirmed, she would become the first african-american woman to serve on the nation's highest court. follow the historic process. watch the confirmation hearing starting monday, march 21, live on c-span,, or by downloading the free c-span now mobile video app. next, white house press secretary jen psaki holds her daily briefing. she took questions on the russian invasion of ukraine, covid-19, inflation, energy prices, and detainees in venezuela. this


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