Jen Psaki on Monday defended President Joe Biden’s actions against Russia after Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich grilled the White House press secretary after one of her colleagues was injured in the Ukraine.
Fox News producers and correspondents on Monday reported that Benjamin Hall, who has been covering the war outside Kyiv amid an intensifying assault by Russian forces, was injured.
Psaki pointed out the economic sanctions Biden and U.S. allies have put on Russia, along with all the aid the United States has given the Ukraine.
‘I would say that at this moment in time, we have been hardly on the sidelines. We have been leading this effort around the world to respond to every step and every escalatory step that President Putin and the Russians are taking,’ she said.
Biden vowed, in mid-February to respond ‘forcefully’ if Americans in the Ukraine were targeted. This was before Vladimir Putin invaded the Ukraine.
‘We are not seeking direct confrontation with Russia though I’ve been clear if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully,’ Biden said.
Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden’s actions against Russia after being grilled by Fox News about Benjamin Hall’s injury
Psaki said the administration was keeping Hall in its thoughts.
‘Your colleague, Benjamin Hall, I know there’s not final reports yet or we would wait for your news organization to confirm those but our thoughts, the President’s thoughts, our administration thoughts are with him, his family and all of you at Fox News as well,’ Psaki said.
She refused to offer what any ‘red line’ would be for a stronger U.S. response, including if Putin used chemcial weapons in Ukraine. The White House has consistently refused to list any specific Russian action that would trigger an accelerated response.
‘We don’t like red lines around here so I’m not going to use that phrasing,’ Psaki said.
She noted the administration was trying not to escalate the conflict.
‘For any president, you have to weigh how you can lead the world, how you can make very clear that actions are horrific, that they are not acceptable. They’re not aligned with global norms, while also thinking about our own national security interests, and starting World War Three is certainly not in our national security interests, putting US troops on the ground in Ukraine to fight a war with Russia is not in our set national security interest,’ she said.
Hall, an American journalist, was reported to be injured on Monday but few details were available on his condition.
She shared a partially blacked out images of Hall’s press identification from the US Senate and House of Representatives.
Fox News journalist John Roberts said live on air: ‘This is news that we hate to pass along to you, but it’s obviously what happens sometimes in the middle of a conflict.
‘A Fox news journalist has been injured while newsgathering outside of Kiev, very few details but teams on the ground are working as hard as they can to try to gather more information.
Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was seriously wounded on Monday while covering the war in Ukraine
Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Irina Venediktova shared an image showing Hall’s press ID
Fox News journalist John Roberts said live on air: ‘This is news that we hate to pass along to you, but it’s obviously what happens sometimes in the middle of a conflict’
‘A reminder of course that this is in a warzone, that information changes very quickly. We are working as hard as possible to get the best information that we possibly can and get all of the details on what has happened.’
He added: ‘The safety of our fox team is of course of the upmost importance and our highest priority.’
According to his biography of FoxNews.com, Hall joined the network in 2015 and currently serves as a State Department correspondent based in Washington, D.C.
During a Monday afternoon news briefing, Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed that Hall has been injured in Ukraine and was being treated at a hospital.
Fox News producer Sean Langille in a tweet praised his wounded colleague for doing a ‘phenomenal job’ covering the war and offered his prayers for a speedy recovery.
Bill Melugin, a Fox News correspondent base din Los Angeles, also tweeted about Hall saying that he was ‘injured today while news gathering outside of Kyiv. He is hospitalized right now, and we have no further details at the moment.’
During his tenure with the network, Hall has covered multiple foreign conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia.
Most recently, he provided live coverage surrounding Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, including anchoring primetime specials from Lviv, Ukraine.
Hall studied at Duke University and earned a BA from Richmond American University in London as well as a post graduate diploma in television journalism from the University of the Arts London. Hall is a dual citizen of both the US and the UK.