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tv   Katy Tur Reports  MSNBC  February 14, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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to see this entirely different set of arguments played around the same set of facts in this case. thank you for covering it, and thank you for being with us for the hour. chuck will be back tomorrow with more "meet the press daily." katy tur has more news now. >> in a facebook post, february 16th, we were told will be the day of the attack, and we will make it a day of unity. we will hang national flags, wear blue and yellow ribbons and show our unity. again, this is from president zelensky, the president of ukraine in a facebook post to ukrainens, telling them that
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february 16th will be the day of the attack. good to be with you. i am katy tur. today the diplomatic efforts to avoid a conflict are being led by germany's new chancellor who will meet with vladimir putin in moscow tomorrow. even as the negotiations continue, more than a dozen countries are urging their citizens to leave ukraine as soon as possible, including the u.s., israel, britain and australia. only france has yet to withdraw its citizens, perhaps a sign the french government does believe there's still a way to avoid military action. we will see if that is changing now that president zelensky made
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that announcement to his people. satellite shows a huge russian presence around ukraine, and tank regiments along the north and west. pentagon press secretary will hold a briefing at the pentagon this hour, and says american intelligence suggested the buildup of russian troops is only growing. >> just over the course of the weekend he added more force and capability to the border of ukraine and belarus and the maritime readiness he established in the black sea and elsewhere and in the med as well. this is a military that continues to grow stronger, and continues to grow more ready, and we believe he has a lot of capabilities and options available to him should he want to use military force. as we said, it could happen any day. i would go so far as to say we could see him move with little to no warning. >> again, a lot of fluid and a
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lot is changing right now. stay with us. president biden did speak with president zelensky yesterday, and president biden promising the u.s. and its allies would respond to any russian invasion swiftly and precisely, and those were president biden's words, and with what president president zelensky just announced, it's hard to believe that biden would travel there. also today, ukraine walked back talk of a massive concession to russian after the ambassador to britain suggested ukraine could drop it's desire to join nato. joining me now is erin
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mclaughlin in kyiv, and courtney kube at the pentagon, and msnbc political analyst, peter baker. this news breaking a moment ago from president zelensky in his facebook post. what are you hearing there? >> in that facebook post, katy, president zelensky saying that his government has been told that february 16th will be the day of a possible attack. that is in just two days' time, and he is calling on ukrainians to raise the flag and use yellow and blue ribbons in a show of solidarity for ukraine. we also heard tonight from the head of ukraine's national police saying that police throughout the country will be on a heightened state of alert until february 19th.
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there will be an increased police presence guarding critical infrastructure and monuments here in a heightened state of alertness. and we heard president zelensky calling on all of the oligarchs that have flown on private jets and left ukraine to return to the country in the next 24 hours saying that he and his family both intend to remain here in kyiv. i have been speaking to ukrainians that say they are extraordinary concerned about the situation, and they have been for sometime but they have taken the western intelligence assessments extremely seriously and they are preparing for the worst, and i was speaking to one woman earlier today and she said she is making plans to send her 11-year-old daughter to the western portion of the country in the event of a escalation,
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and she said she plans to stay to defend ukraine. speaking to so many ukrainians here, they tell me they realize the value of their freedom and have been fighting for that freedom in the past eight years in the face of russian aggression, and they realize what is at stake and want to defend their country. >> i saw a reporter talking to a grandmother today who was wanting to defend her country. and looking at the u.s.' intelligence and pairing it with what president zelensky said, what do we know? >> the one thing we should be listening for is not so much that russia continues to build up the forces around ukraine, it's more about the capability they are bringing in in the last few days, and that's what has u.s. officials and the officials i'm speaking with really concerned, the capabilities they
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are bringing in. one of the things that has a lot of defense officials worried right now is the naval presence. they have these russian military ships in the black sea, many of them have cruise missiles on them and they are uncontested down there as well and they have the ability to hold much of eastern ukraine and the central part of the country with the missiles, the land attack cruise missiles. so into the eastern side of ukraine, on the eastern border there, they have the ability as john kirby said earlier today on msnbc to attack very quickly with very little notice and in a very destructive manner. as evidence of that you mentioned the u.s. state department has been telling americans that they have to leave. just only moments ago we heard from the state department, a
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statement from secretary blinken, they are in the process of relocating embassy operations to ukraine to the western city of kyiv that we just heard from erin about, and it's due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of russian forces. that's what really has the u.s. on edge here, not just that russia continues to flow in forces but the capabilities and numbers of russian forces that moved around ukraine in the recent days has really, really accelerated. there's a real concern they could move in with little or no notice, katy? >> according to anthony blinken, the secretary of state, they are moving. you have decent insight buy what could be happening considering
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vladimir putin has been so isolated and under the radar during most of the buildup here. what are you watching out for? >> yeah, first of all, that statement from president zelensky is significant, not because of what it says but because of who said it, and up until now president zelensky has taken -- well, saying that the americans are alarmists and now he accepted the american warnings, and the date he mentioned is the date americans have been suggesting they move, and he now at this point accepted the reality what the american intelligence agencies have been talking about for weeks, and now you heard from
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sergey lavrov, there's time for diplomacy, and we still think there's more opportunity for talks here and president putin responds good, as if that's his goal. a lot of people watching are skeptical and believe that's just a way of damping down preparations on this side while they get their operational forces ready to go and there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for diplomacy, unless vladimir putin decide to back down. there's no magic key the americans or europeans could offer putin. >> why is vladimir putin not -- he doesn't seem to be reacting to the threat of sanctions, peter. he doesn't even seem to be acting to the americans saying we're going to take the north
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line off-line. that would be a blow. >> yeah, he already factored in what the west's response would be. he knew this is what the united states and europe would threaten, they would be cut off from the banking, he already knew that going in and he decided to do this anyway. he decided that's not enough to detour him. i don't think the west has come up with anything that surprised him so far except perhaps for the technique that my colleagues wrote about the other day, exposing in advance the fake pretext they like to use by exposing the false flag operations, i think that's the best way the west has had of trying to expose what a
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manufactured crisis this is to begin with, and they can't pretend there was a provocation on the part of the ukrainians. >> yeah, glad you brought that up. the u.s. intelligence has been warning about that for a couple weeks, and during friday with the eye opening appearance of the secretary at the press briefing. >> in advance of a kinetic or military movement into ukraine by russia, one thing is cyberattacks. that could occur in ukraine. we could see it in different ways, like the internet stopped working. it could be something like critical infrastructure, like the lights go out or what the military calls electronic warfare or jamming, they could
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gum things up and stop critical infrastructure and things from working, and beyond that there's more intelligence according to officials that russia could be looking at a false flag and that could be a protest drummed up in some random part of the country, and it could be against the government, and as part of that there could be reports of russian-speaking citizens being injured or worse as part of this. the kinds of things that may go viral on social media, and there's a potential of a false flag that could be deadly. we heard about going after infrastructure, bridges and river crossings, so there's specific intelligence that the u.s. is getting in, and we're getting only the vague outlines of what that might look like, but i will say over the weekend i heard more and more about how
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there's concern that one of those false flags could start early this week, katy. >> let's bring in former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, william taylor to this conversation. everybody stay with us. the announcement of president zelensky speaking to his people, saying on february 16th, two days from now, he's told that will be the invasion day. what is your reaction? >> katy, my sense is president putin has not yet decided. we have this information apparently about wednesday, about the 16th, but what he has, what president putin has is the capability, as all your reporters just described, he has great capability and could a lot of damage, and he could plant false flags for a provocation, and it's not clear that he made
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this decision yet. president putin has that capability, but president zelensky is preparing his people, the ukrainians to be prepared for whatever comes. he wants them to be resolute and wants them to be calm and doesn't want to see panic, but he does want them to be prepared. the preparations that the forces have gone through, they are ready. they are clearly ready. they are not able to withstand a big attack from the russians, but the ukrainians -- they will fight and it will be -- if vladimir putin makes this decision, it will be bloody for russians. the one thing that might detour him is the prospect of russian soldiers coming back to russian towns and villages across the country across russia to be buried. this could be destabilizing for his regime, and he has that concern as well as all the
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sanctions and the militaries he's facing. >> we are waiting for the pentagon to hold a press briefing. that's what you see on the left side of your screen. let's talk about why vladimir putin would want to move into ukraine. and speaking to the press, one said americans should care about this because this could be a realignment of power. i am hoping you could explain that. >> katy, this would be a major change, a major event in european security, if president putin is able to get away with invading his neighbor, a sovereign country, that everybody recognizes with the exception of maybe putin, that ukraine is a sovereign nation and has rights, and if this
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nation can be violated, then that destroys any hope for an order that would keep the peace in europe. that's what we are talking about. we're talking about security in europe and ukraine happens to be on the front line. if russians can invade and control ukraine, if russians could reabsorbed ukraine into an empire again, then that border is challenged and may never return. >> courtney, you and i have been having the conversation about how american is responding by posting troops in our nato allied countries saying we are there for nato defense. is there any concern that ukraine is just the first step? >> i think that's the longer term concern that we are hearing about. you hear people in this building talk about how this could potentially change european
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security for decades to come and change the world order. if vladimir putin is able to redraw borders with the invasion of ukraine, that's a real possibility. i know european officials in eastern europe particularly, they know that today it's ukraine, and what about in ten years move into border, and what about estonia, and as he continues, vladimir putin, or whoever his successor might be, they could continue to push russia further and further out and take some of this land over time, not necessarily in 2022, but over time. vladimir putin and the russian people are looking at how the world responds to this as a way to move forward. again, nothing happens in a vacuum, right? it's not just putin watching this, and it could be president xi in china in response to
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taiwan. it may not have direct national security implications, but here in the united states it could have a larger world implication in years to come, katy. >> let's talk about the moment in time this is happening, could it be vladimir putin sees the west as not as strong as it once was and not as united as it was once, and america not in the same position around the world as it once was? >> yeah, i think there's something to that, and maybe he miscalculated, but you are right, starting with president obama and president trump and now biden wanted to pull back from the american militarism, and that could have emboldened people in america to pull back, and we have new leadership in
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germany, and angela merkel is out, and schultz is in, and macron is facing an election, and we have boris johnson in trouble in the uk. there might have been a feeling in the part of the kremlin this could be an opportunity to drive a wedge in the west, and as much as we have differences of opinion with germany and france on how to handle this threat broadly speaking, the united states and europe have been pretty united on that. if the goal of putin was to -- now he's giving everybody a reason to reconsolidate and renew the mission and purpose of nato that you would have thought moscow would not have wanted. >> i want to bring in white house correspondent, mike memoli. are we getting any reaction from
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the white house. obviously over the last few days, the president has been making clear to american citizens, and now tony blinken in a statement saying we are in the process of temporarily rolo indicating our services out of kyiv -- i apologize for my mispronunciation of that city. they are relocating the u.s. embassy far to the west, and it's because of the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of russian forces. so when you combine the dire warnings escalating over the last few days about the threat of an invasion to now removing
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what was left of our embassy presence out of kyiv further west to obviously a safer position, and it's an illustration of a concerned level at the highest levels of the government. >> we are approaching if we are not already at a peak, and the u.s. government already called it a crescendo. if this is a way for vladimir putin to exert the most leverage against the west, what is he trying to get here. what does he ultimately want? >> what he ultimately wants is ukraine in the first instance. but as courtney said, he will not stop there if he achieves that. he wants ukraine, and he doesn't want to invade, i bet. i bet he wants this big deployment to intimidate president zelensky and try to intimidate president biden. so far he has not been able to
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succeed. peter baker is right, i bet putin is surprised about how united the alliance is and how strong president zelensky has been in standing up to putin, so i think that's probably something putin did not expect. >> on friday the national security adviser, jake sullivan, was talking about what could happen and the terms he used were, frankly, quite scary, that the russians could bomb and they could invade and he was imploring all american citizens to get out and now we hear the embassy is being relocated. what do we have to learn in the next few days about what might happen here? >> one thing that seems very clear is the u.s. government does not want to send u.s. military into ukraine for any evacuation of american citizens, and that's why we are seeing so much urging, president biden,
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blinken and sullivan all urging americans to get out while commercial travel is still available. and kyiv is offering options, and we are hearing about the city in western ukraine near the polish border, the embassy staff are going to move there, and there will be most likely ground roots out of ukraine through the western part of the country into poland. that's one place where we may see u.s. military presence. they may be helping out if necessary at checkpoints, and they will do things like logistical support. they may provide food, shelter, probably tents, not anything too fancy, and that's one thing where we may see the military, but one thing is certain, this administration, the biden administration has made it clear they do not want to send troops in for any noncombatant evacuation, and that's why we
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will hear the administration urging americans to get out because of any invasion. >> and our nbc teams are still there. tell us about how you are going to be keeping yourself safe if this happens? >> well, we're obviously going to be monitoring the situation very closely, katy. you know, we have sort of our own plans in place in case of the worst, but ukrainian military experts that i have been talking to say they still say kyiv as a potential target being extremely unlikely given the state of readiness that this city is in, given the resolve of the ukrainian military and the number of troops that russia currently has in belarus, simply 30,000, and that's not enough to
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take kyiv, and they are bracing this area of the country for hybrid warfare and disinformation which we heard from ukrainian intelligence, earlier today they said they have seen an unprecedented amount of misinformation, urging people to check their sources and to really vet the information they are getting and question it. that alert went out this morning from ukrainian intelligence. in terms of kyiv itself, it is seen as unlikely target, and the ukrainian military sees something in the east as being an unlikely scenario, katy. >> yeah, people in the east have been dealing with something like this for years, erin, for eight years in the separatist conflict, and i know you have seen them up close and what they have been living through and it's not good, it's bleak. in kyiv, though, it's been striking for me to see the
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scenes where live seems to be completely normal, or feels normal. i know people are preparing for what could come. are they in full understanding of what could come, though? >> i think so. so many ukrainians that i have spoken to have told me they have been living with russian aggression for the past eight years, to the point where they have almost grown accustomed to attacks from russia, where that is that disinformation or attacks in the east. they know what is at stake here. remember, what happened eight years ago here in kyiv, a lot of ukrainians see themselves as having fought for this freedom. for example, i was speaking to a 17-year-old just outside kyiv a couple weekends ago and i asked him -- he was at a military
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class, and i asked if he would defend his country, and he said i know i am fighting for my freedom and country and i know what is at stake here. people that i have been speaking to are well prepared in their minds, and they know what could happen should russia succeed and continue to chip away and erode -- or try to, anyway, their own country. >> erin, stay safe. don't go anywhere. we're still discussing this. the pentagon will be holding a briefing in a couple minutes and it should start in two minutes, and we will go there live once it begins, once mr. kirby takes that podium there. we saw vladimir putin travel to the olympics and stand side by side president xi, just reinforcing they have an
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alliance, and i heard from some reporting from richard engel that the timing of this would be that he would want to do it during the olympics because the last russian sympathetic leader of ukraine was deposed during the olympics in sochi about a decade ago? >> well, that is certainly possible. when he got into a war with georgia in 2008, it was also during the olympics and that happened to be held in beijing, and president bush was there and putin and they said what the heck are you up to? it may be, as you say, he's perfectly willing to do it at the risk of alienating president xi at some level.
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they see every possible sign they possibly could, and when you are looking around and you see all the signs and look for other explanations, and sometimes the simple explanation is the right one. >> so far, we are taking this on the word of president zelensky made an announcement on facebook and on a tv address, he was told the attack will happen on february 16th. they have not designated any date for this to happen and we have not heard anything from the russians with them confirming they want to invade ukraine, and they have said over and over this is not them but the west escalating tensions even though we have seen russia build up an incredible force of soldiers and apparatus around ukraine, surrounding ukraine on three sides. ambassador, i do want to try to
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get into the alliance here. we have been watching closely. what has been happening in germany? it had seemed germany was not necessarily on the same page as the other western countries, was germany is so reliant on the national gas pipeline that comes out of russia. there's some reporting that germany will open a liquid gas port, and they are hesitant to do that because of the costs and they are looking into it again. where does germany stand right now? >> i think, again, as part of a united alliance, germany has its own ways of putting pressure on russia. germany, as you said, has a pipeline, a north stream pipeline coming from russia into germany and it's not yet in operation, and putin would really like to have this
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pipeline operate and the chancellor, the new chancellor schultz has been clear that this pipeline will not go into operation if putin decides to invade. so president putin has to take that into consideration. the chancellor has been hesitant to say the words north stream 2, but he has been clear in his conversations with biden that he's in lockstep and they are together and they are pulling in the same direction -- >> sorry to interrupt, but i want to go right into the press briefing. >> brussels, of course, they will meet with allied defense ministers across nato leadership and defense minute sterile uls.
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while ensuring the alliance is prepared to face tomorrow's challenges. in poland he plans to meet with the minister of national defense and to enhance bilateral security, deepen the partnership which we believe is vital in addressing today's threats and challenges. he will get a chance to meet with u.s. and poland troops. the secretary will also travel to lithuania to meet with the prime minister, the lithuanian president and defense minister as well to reaffirm the united states stands with lithuania and the baltic states to show we are continuing to stand shoulder to
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shoulder. secretary austin does plan to meet jointly with his counterparts from lithuania, estonia together and he will have a chance as well to visit with some u.s. service members there in lithuania. on another note, i would like to announce the secretary has appointed dr. eric evans to serve as the chair -- okay, it's not here. i am missing some sentences here. i am going to -- i will -- we will announce this later after the briefing. i don't have all the text of it here. so with that, we'll take questions. sorry about that. >> improvising -- >> do you have it there? okay, i apologize. >> the question of the russian build up on the border of ukraine, can you give a little bit more detailed description of
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the lay of the land there? i think in recent days, for example, have some of the ground units that were in larger assembly areas moved in or out closer to the border in what might be attack positions, other movements in the last 24 hours or so? >> what i would say, bob, even in the last 24 to 48, over the course of the weekend putin has added military capability along the border of belarus, and he has naval units in the black sea. he continues to add to his readiness and give himself more options should he pursue a military path here. i would like to refrain from getting into specific movements of their troops. i think that's probably not a wise thing for me to do with any great specificity. i would just say this, he continues to advance his readiness should he choose to go
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down a military path here. should he choose to invade again, he is doing all the things you would expect him to do to make sure he's ready for that option or options. >> there's no indication, for example, that what they have called exercises have ended in any way or are changing in any way? >> i want to be careful to characterize another nation's characterizes. we have seen them conduct the exercises in recent days, and exercises are designed to get you ready. that's my point. he continues to do things you would expect one to do if one was planning on a military action, to add to the capabilities of his force.
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we too believe that there still should be and can be a diplomatic path forward. jen? >> i am trying to understand, are we still suggesting putin has not made the decision to invade ukraine? >> we still don't believe that some final decision has been made. >> then how is it that communications continue? we just heard from president zelensky that he has been told that an invasion will happen on february 16th, which is wednesday. how do you reconcile putin has nod made a decision but invasions will happen on the 16th? >> we're not talking about specifics. i think you understand that. we have said for a while now
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military action could happen any day, and you heard from the national security adviser making it clear that it certainly could happen before the end of the olympics, maybe even this week. we have shared with our allies and partners and that includes ukraine, our assessment of the information that we have been receiving, and certainly have reflected in those conversations our deep concern about the continued capabilities that mr. putin has at his becken call. i won't get into a specific date, i don't think that would be smart. i would just tell you it's entirely possible that he could move with little to no warning. >> what will the u.s. response be at that time? the defense secretary is going to the nato minute steurl.
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>> biden said the united states would respond swiftly with severe economic consequences. i won't speak for the alliances, that's a decision the north atlantic council has to make and that's not something the united states would unilaterally call into being. i would only add this, and this is why a couple weeks ago we talked about making our contribution to the response force more ready, so we have done that and one of the messages that the secretary will carry with him to nato is our contribution to the nato response force should it be called, should it be activated, they are ready to go. >> just to be clear, your answer to bob, you do not have evidence that their forces have moved into an attack position? >> i will not talk specifically what we are seeing on the ground when it comes to unit by unit. what i will continue to tell you is we continue to see him
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advance his readiness and improve his capabilities and provide himself more options should he decide to take another -- to take military action in ukraine. let me go to the phones here. i promise i will get to everybody. we will be here as long as you want. tom? >> good afternoon and thank you very much. the u.s. navy is yet to pinpoint the exact location of the f-35 that was involved in an accident and secure that area in the south china sea, and you said the f-35 is u.s. property and you have no concern that other nations won't try to pilfer it. what gives you that idea given they have ignored other rulings in the south china sea? >> it's not about confidence whether china will do or won't
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do anything, and it's our property and we are making every effort to do that in this case, and if it can be done i am confident the united states navy will be able to get it done. they are on site and working through this in real time. >> the russian defense minister said this morning that they are going to assume they are ending some of their military exercise, so since you say they continue to go with deployment, and so do you not take him at his word or that's not relevant -- >> i am not challenging his word that he is ending exercises,
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that's not the point. the point is he continues -- i am happy they are speaking to their exercises, and that's a welcomed change. they have not at all been transparent about what they intend to do with the massive buildup. it's strange to think that they would have this many troops along the border with ukraine and belarus simply for winter exercises. so we still think there's a diplomatic path. if they want to send a strong signal about de-escalation, they could. if, in fact, these troops have done their exercises they can send them back home and reduce their presence along the border, and that would go a long way. >> officials warn a russian invasion would be preceded by information preparing the
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russian population for casualties. have you seen that? if you have, what have you seen? >> it's a piece of russian playbook to lay down the foundation for these military actions with cyber operations, information operations, even hybrid operations, as we saw back in 2014, you know, the little green men and these are russian soldiers that are not dressed as russian soldiers. we are on the -- we're monitoring this closely and certainly on the lookout for any kinds of these tactics. i won't speak to specific assessments here today. i would just tell you we are watching this very closely. it's one of the reasons why we have tried to be open over the last week and a half, two weeks, about the potential for these kinds of nonkinetic, if you will, that's a pentagon phrase,
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i know, but non kinetic tactics and procedures used by the russians to begin to sew the seeds for potential conflict, to preclude some sort of pretext that ukrainians would react to that they could claim was a threat to their national security. i can't speak with specificity today with anything that is glaringly obvious, except for what we said before, that we have seen in intelligence about their preparations that they could use to their advantage. >> you can't say yes or no a foundation is being laid at this point? >> i could say we have them make it clear they want to lay down that foundation.
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the secretary is leaving tomorrow morning for brussels. >> and the plan is to stay for the entire time no matter what? >> we will have to see how things will play out. the secretary is looking forward to meeting with the leaders. >> what role is china playing in the whole ukraine/russian aspect? is the defense secretary worried about the role they are playing? >> we certainly have been watching the -- the -- at least the public burgeoning relationship between russia and china. their february 4th joint statement certainly provided
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further evidence that china has decided that they are going to stand alongside russia with respect to what's going on in europe. we would say that their support for russia is deeply alarming and frankly even more destabilizing to the security situation in europe. nancy? >> i had a question for you about comments the president made in his interview with lester holt. he said he was not told what commanders were observing on the ground in afghanistan, and i want to make it clear there's communication to the president about what troops are seeing. can you talk about the president not getting information --
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>> nancy, what i would tell you is throughout the month of august -- in fact, well before the month of august, there was a very robust, steady, frequent interagency process -- decision-making process. we started thinking about and planning for a noncombatant evacuation as far back as april, and we did not do that in a vacuum. there was ample discussions about that through the spring, and all through the summer, the chairman and the secretary take seriously their requirement to provide the commander-in-chief with their best advice about how to proceed forward and how the situation is changing, and there were many, many opportunities for them to do that, both in terms of larger interagency meetings as well as private sessions they have weekly with
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the president. they have said as much in testimony. i would tell you, because i know what is prompting the question, and i would just tell you that commanders at the tactical level absolutely were trying to make the best decisions they could in real time under incredibly difficult circumstances, and they were seeing things through -- rightly through their prism in the moment there at the airport. there were other perspectives at a strategic level, and i would tell you that the president has a much bigger view, a larger perspective on what's going on than at the tactical level. those discussions were happening here in washington, d.c. there was certainly in the month of august, literally daily touches between the secretary and the chairman and leaders on the ground there at the airport, so the information flow was
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strong. but at no time did the national security council try to stop an evacuation or slow it down or gum up the works. the leaders on the ground certainly were working under incredible pressure and certainly as they gave these interviews for this investigation, they were doing that honestly not knowing these documents were going to be made public so they were very candid about what they were seeing. at the strategic level there were interagency perspectives that factored into the decision-making process, but there was nothing that was done to slow down the evacuation. >> in evacuating the families on august 29th -- >> that work still continues, nancy, obviously not at the speed with which we are satisfied, but we have not lost
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focus. we have not diminished our strong desire to get them -- to get them to safety. >> it has been six months. do you think it's days or weeks or months away? >> if we had total control, it would have been months ago, i just don't have an estimate for you. i can just assure you, it's not been forgotten and there's a deliberate, concerted effort to do the right thing by those family members and get them to safety here in the united states. yep. let me go to the phones. jeff shogel. >> thank you, the united states is certainly taking a number of precautions that indicates it believes war is likely. including closing the embassy in ukraine. is there any chance that u.s. troops in europe might be -- or
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excuse me, is it possible that europe might be pat of the combat zone tax exclusion in which troops in europe would not pay taxes on their pay? >> jeff, the president has made clear that u.s. troops are not going to be fighting in ukraine. the troops that we added to the already 80,000 that are based in europe are going to reassure our allies and our partners to deter aggression against the alliance, to conduct some joint training. so, i know of no decision, or no need to change the parameters of the european theater, with respect to combat zone tax exclusion. >> mike brest, the examiner. >> thank you. how many people, or how many civilians has dod had in the raid? >> i will tell you, when we briefed this out, we indicated
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that a total of seven individuals were killed. two of them -- three of them of the seven, of course, were mr. abdullah and his lieutenant on the second floor. as well as his wife who was in fact a combatant. so, of the seven that we have talked about, we know three of them were combatants. and that's the estimate that we have right now, but we've certainly seen numbers higher than that and we're not in a position to dispute those numbers because we didn't stay onsite for more than two hours, as was the plan. and we're not going to rule out the possibility that in that explosion on the third floor, additional individuals, whether they were combatants or not, can't say, since that explosion happened before our troops got
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into the building, but it's not out of the realm of the impossible that additional people could have been killed in that explosion and buried in the rubble and we didn't see them. again, we weren't onsite very long. seven is the number we know of. we believe, sense of humility here, we don't know, we can't confirm that there weren't others that mr. abdullah decided to take with him when he exploded that device on the third floor. janie. >> thank you, sir. president biden said he would pursue the -- high stakes and joining the allies. what type of military support does the u.s. want from south
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korea? >> that is a question for the south korean government to answer, should they want to assist ukraine in a tangible way, certainly that -- i'm sure that the ukrainians would welcome that. we've noted, i've said before, that many of our other allies and nato are also finding ways to support ukraine. those are sovereign decisions that each nation state has to make for themselves. and i wouldn't get ahead of the south korean government on this. >> okay. >> yep. >> a couple short ukraine follow-up questions. does dod have any defense trainers on the ground in ukraine? >> no. >> does dod ask a russian movement into the donbas a new encouragent? >> yes.
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>> and you can elaborate on what second austin's thinking was pulling the national guard trainers out of state? >> we've said it was an abundance of caution, given the mosaic we've been given in the last 48 hours and it's obviously not the most safest place for them to be. he ordered them taken out of the country over the weekend. again, abundance of safety -- abundance of caution here. i said, what, two weeks ago when you guys were asking me about this. if and when he believed the safety and security of those individuals was going to be at risk, he would make the decision to remove them. and he did that. >> courtney. >> there's a small contingency
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of u.s. forces there. can you say that all u.s. forces in ukraine have been taken out or ordered out? >> i will tell you there remains a small amount of military personnel in support of our diplomats and they remain in the country. >> other than security guards? anyone other than them? >> i'll leave the answer as i said it. >> the secretary ordered 3,000 additional troops to poland. what attributed to that decision with the troops going to the country, what was the decision? >> we talked about this at the time. we continued to see a buildup of russian military forces. we continued to consult with our allies, in this case, poland. it was deemed by both sides this was a prudent measure, given what we were seeing on the ground. given what our intelligence was telling us and given the additional need for additional capability in poland. i will remind you these 3,000 are still part of the 82nd airborne. when i announced the first
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hundreds i called them an element of. the secretary held them in reserve and decided now is the time to send them. >> also we've seen the u.s. arrive in the united arab emirates, how are they helping with the missiles? >> these f-22s are going to join a range of joint coalition and allied partner capabilities that are already based across the region so they're additive to the air power we have in the region. jen. >> can i go back to a question that jim asked. i'm confused by your answer. do you have evidence that china gave its tacit support to russia during that meeting on february 4th foreign invasion of ukraine? >> the statement itself reads in our view as tacit support. yeah. anybody else in the room?
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matt. >> thanks. we don't want to get into specific troop numbers for the russians -- >> you're right, i don't. >> that's right. over the last 24 to 48 hours, and you talked about the capabilities to sustain them. can you say anything more about what the capabilities are? are they more of the same or offensive capabilities? >> just broadly speaking, matt, we talked about the presence as providing him combined arms capability, right? it's infantry, it's armor, artillery, air missile defense, as well as offensive air. he's got a lot of combat aircraft at his ability. he's got significant naval power inside the black sea. and not lost on anyone, that a good chunk of those ships at least half a dozen of them are
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lsts, they're landing ships for one purpose, that's to put troops ashore. he's got cybercapability. he's got isr capability. and over the past weeks and months, he's continued to add to that. so, i don't know if i would go so glibly to say, well, it's more of the same. but in terms of the menu of options he continues to add to that across the whole spectrum of military capabilities. i think i'll probably just leave it at that. and you also talked about sustainment. and we have definitely seen, in recent weeks, adding logistics and sustainment capability, so that it's pretty clear that if he wants to, he's going to ensure that he can keep these troops in the field for longer periods of time. and, you know, that's everything from transportation to, you
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know, supply chains. to medical support. so, we continue to see that being added. did that help? >> yeah. >> toni. >> what steps are being taken to make sure that the entire 82nd airborne's immediate response that you're sending to poland, that they're staying away from any harms way, in case there's an invasion? will there location be pretty much central poland and nowhere near the border? >> i'll let the commander talk about where he's going to put the troops, tony. they're sent over there for a range of contingencies. they're multi-mission capability, as you know. and as we talked about, if one of the contingencies are, if one of the needs are to help with evacuation assistance on the polish side of the border, as people come across that border, should they come across that border and need help, they'll be prepared to do that.
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