AP reporter gets into heated clash with State Dept spox over potential war between Russia and Ukraine

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(Video Credit: Reuters)

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee aggressively battled with State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday over the UN Security Council meeting addressing the potential breakout of war between Russia and Ukraine that threatens to draw in the U.S. and global powers.

During the meeting, ambassadors from the United States and Russia traded verbal barbs but never reached a resolution or even a joint statement on the issue of Russia-Ukraine. Price defended the administration’s diplomatic approach to the issue and confusingly came to the conclusion that the Security Council meeting was productive.

“Did the Security Council actually do anything?” Lee bluntly asked Price who argued that the Security Council takes the global lead in determining threats to international peace and had reached a consensus that Russia was acting aggressively toward Ukraine.

“Haven’t there been expositions after expositions after expositions of this going back months now? You, yourself get up here every single day and talk about or whenever you get up here… When you’re briefing, you get up here and you talk about the G7, you talk about the EU, you talk about NATO… any number of international forums where this stuff actually comes out and has been agreed on,” asserted Lee during the State Department press briefing that followed the explosive and contentious meeting.

Price interrupted Lee’s question and said that the United States is “not going to apologize for engaging in robust diplomacy, for bringing this to every conceivable forum and appropriate forum and continuing to be transparent with our concerns.”

“If the criticism is that we are engaging too robustly in diplomacy, that we’re being too transparent, that we’re being too consistent in what we’re saying, that is criticism that we will accept if that’s a criticism you want to lodge,” Price sneered.

Lee went on to contend that he was not criticizing but was “curious” why Price stated “the world is united in opposing Russian aggression” even though the Security Council wasn’t united because two of its members, Russia and China, opposed having “this meeting in the first place.” Lee asked how that advanced the U.S., EU, and NATO cause against “Russian aggression.”

Price proclaimed that it was obvious why Russia voted against the meeting and that China “frequently does side and vote with Russia on the Security Council. That did not come as a surprise.”

He went on to point out that the tensions between Russia and Ukraine are “a matter of concern” for the Chinese. Price referred to China’s “forceful support for territorial integrity.”

Lee shot back that when China talks about that issue, “they’re talking about Tibet. They’re talking about Hong Kong. They’re talking about Taiwan. All things you actually disagree with.”

Price responded stating that “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” are “principles that are universal.” He asserted that China’s actions surrounding Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan “undermine that core tenet. That core tenet of the rules-based international order.”

Of the 15 member states that voted at the Security Council on Monday, only 10 voted to proceed with a discussion on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Three members abstained from voting including India, while Russia and China voted against it. There has been no international consensus on how to deal with the Russian threat. President Joe Biden recently stated that there was disagreement among NATO allies on how to deal with a “minor incursion” by Russia.


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