Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan appeared on the Sunday broadcast of “Face the Nation” on CBS and faced questions from host Margaret Brennan about the developing situation in Ukraine along its border with Russia.
Brennan made it clear with Sullivan that she has concerns about Biden’s leadership ability to guide the US and NATO to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Brennan echoed the concerns of former CIA Director Mike Morrell when she cited his statement that if Putin is allowed to defy Biden, American credibility in Europe “will be lost.” She told Sullivan that with Biden’s declining approval ratings since the disastrous withdrawal of US military forces from Afghanistan, the risk goes beyond ordinary foreign policy to the president’s ability to “set bright lines” for adversarial regimes.
Sullivan told Brennan that he would leave the “political analysis” to her while asserting that the administration has been “shoring up” and strengthening international alliances that are helping the US to defend its interests and friends. Sullivan said the US would continue to support the Ukrainian people.
The Biden White House sent a delegation of negotiators to Geneva last week to reduce tension in Ukraine. Russia has placed around 100,000 troops, tanks, and support equipment along its border with Ukraine in recent months and is giving signals that it is assuming a posture for invasion.
Last Thursday, the Ukrainian government was hit with a cyberattack that left a message to “be afraid and expect the worst” blazoned across government webpages. Brennan asked Sullivan if Russia is using last week’s cyberattack to “prepare the battlefield” and whether US sanctions might be imposed as a result.
Sullivan responded by saying it had not yet been determined if Russia was behind last week’s cyberattack, although he would not be surprised “one bit” if it was, since that type of attack is in their “playbook.”
Sullivan said regarding sanctions that the Biden Administration has laid out an “unambiguous message” to Putin and American allies, telling the Russians that there will be “severe economic consequences if they invade Ukraine.” He added that if it is determined that Russia is responsible for cyberattacks against Ukraine, the US will work with allies on an “appropriate response.”