Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan appeared on a series of Sunday news shows to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin is frustrated by his military’s slow progress in its invasion of Ukraine.
Sullivan’s comments followed reports of a missile attack by Russia on a Ukrainian military base less than 15 miles from the border with NATO member, Poland, that killed at least 35 people. The base is a training center and is believed to be the most westward target attacked in the invasion so far. The facility has been used for training Ukrainian troops, often by instructors from the U.S. and other NATO member nations. The base has also been the site of NATO drills.
In his appearance on CNN, Sullivan was asked to respond to reports that an American journalist had been killed in Ukraine. At the time, it had not yet been confirmed that the journalist was Brent Renaud, an independent filmmaker who had previously worked for numerous American media outlets including the New York Times. Sullivan responded by saying that if an American journalist had been killed, it is “shocking and horrifying.” He added that the report’s death is another example of Vladimir Putin’s brutality.
When asked about the Russian strike on the training base located near the Polish border, Sullivan said it is evidence of Putin’s frustration because his forces are not advancing as he expected against major Ukrainian cities including Kyiv. Sullivan also echoed Biden’s promise to defend “every inch” of NATO territory.
Because of his inability to move through Ukraine as planned, Sullivan said Putin is now expanding his attacks and imposing damage wherever he can inside the country.
In an appearance later Sunday morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sullivan said that he is not surprised that Russia is expanding the number and range of targets it is attacking as a result of the military’s frustration over not being able to take Kyiv and other major cities.
Sullivan met on Monday with China’s Director of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi in Rome. They discussed China’s alignment with Russia, and Sullivan warned of the isolation and sanctions that the Chinese government will face if it offers material support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Sullivan also stressed the importance of the two countries maintaining open lines of communication regarding the situation with Russia.