White House Spox John Kirby Offers Weak Response to Russian Take Down of US Drone: Says State Department ‘Will Reach Out and Expressly and Directly Make Our Concerns Known’

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby offered a weak initial response on Tuesday to the Russian attack that forced down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. Kirby said he expected the State Department would ‘reach out and expressly and directly make our concerns known about this incident with Russian officials.’ Kirby did say the attack would not deter U.S. flights over the Black Sea, but did not mention any U.S. response. Kirby also said that Joe Biden, out in California, had been briefed Tuesday morning on the incident by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, but had no statement from Biden to relay to reporters.

John Kirby, file screen image.

From veteran reporter Laura Rozen via Twitter, “NSC’s John Kirby, asked if US Russian contact since downing of US drone over Black Sea, says knows it is the State Dept’s intention to reach out and expressly directly, make our concerns known about this incident with Russian officials. But whether that has occurred, can’t say…Kirby: As for message sending, that is a great question for the Russian Ministry of Defense. …If the message is they want to deter us from flying over international air space over the black sea, then that will fail.”

Thee Hill’s Alex Gangitano, “John Kirby on the Russian aircraft that struck propeller of US aircraft: “We have been flying over that airspace consistently now for over a year—actually before the war… We don’t need to have some sort of check in with the Russians before we fly in international airspace.”

Audio of Kirby’s phone briefing with reporters was posted by rebel reporter Simon Ateba. Interesting to hear worthless White House reporters on this briefing. The first question was on the Russian attack, and then they moved on. Eventually a foreign reporter with AFP returned to the Russian attack, but the lack of urgency by both Kirby and the reporters is telling about how in synch they are with each other.

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