During a town hall on CNN on Thursday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan responded to a question on whether the United States should have started arming Ukraine sooner by stating that any time a country ends up invaded, “we’d want to do more and faster” but “our ability to flow assistance very rapidly in the lead-up to and in the early weeks of the war played a critical role” in keeping Kyiv from falling.
An attendee at the town hall asked, “[D]o you have a regret that if the United States had started supplying weapons earlier, a lot of innocent lives would have been saved?”
Sullivan answered, “So, in 2021, the first year of the Biden administration, the United States provided far more lethal assistance, weapons to Ukraine than in any previous year in U.S. history, Javelins and other critical anti-armor systems to help build the Ukrainian defense and we flowed that assistance as we were seeing the Russian troop buildup in the spring of 2021 and we kept flowing it as we saw the subsequent buildup that actually led to the invasion. Now, at the end of the day, any time a country ends up in the kind of crisis that Ukraine did when Russia rolled in with its full-scale invasion, of course, we’d want to do more and faster and get as much as we possibly could into the hands of the Ukrainians. But I have to say that our ability to flow assistance very rapidly in the lead-up to and in the early weeks of the war played a critical role in supporting the courage and bravery of the Ukrainian people in defending the city of Kyiv and ensuring that Kyiv did not fall. And for that, I think the United States and our allies and all of the other countries supporting Ukraine played — not the vital role, because the vital role was played by the Ukrainian people — but a critical role and one that we continue to play to this day with what we are supplying.”
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