National Security Council

Via Teleconference

1:56 P.M. EST
MR. KIRBY:  Good afternoon, everybody.
As you know, over the weekend the U.S. Department of Defense and the Jordanian Royal Air Force collaborated over the weekend to airdrop 38,000 ready-to-eat meals into Gaza.  This operation saw 66 bundles of aid offloaded across three C-130 aircraft delivered to people in dire need of it.
We remain the largest provider of aid to Gaza, having provided now more than $180 million in humanitarian assistance since the 7th of October.  And we’ll keep at that job. 
Responding to the humanitarian crisis and the needs of the Palestinian people has been a priority since day one, and as I said, it remains one today. 
But, look, the truth is — and you heard the President talk about this — that the aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere near enough, and it’s not getting there fast enough.  We all need to do more, and the United States will do more.  There will be additional airdrops of humanitarian assistance from U.S. aircraft.  I’m sure you all want to know exactly when that’s going to be, where that’s going to be, and what’s going to be on those airplanes, and I am not in a position today to give you those sorts of operational details.  But there will be more airdrops.
We continue to work to increase the amount of aid that’s flowing through existing border crossings as well, at Rafah and Kerem Shalom, and to press the government of Israel to open additional crossings and routes into Gaza.
As the President said, we are also looking to develop a direct maritime route to facilitate the delivery of assistance, and we’re confident that we’ll have a number of international partners who will help us in that effort. 
We’ll also continue to insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes and more aid to get to more people.
I think as you all know, Benny Gantz, from the Israeli war cabinet, will be meeting today with the Vice President and with Jake Sullivan and then tomorrow with Secretary Blinken.  And I can assure you that the issue of humanitarian assistance will be top on that agenda.
Of course, to really address the urgent needs of the civilian population in Gaza and to enable our humanitarian partners to more and to better distribute lifesaving aid, it’s essential to see a temporary ceasefire as part of this hostage deal. 
We call on Hamas to accept the terms that are on the table right now, whereby the release of vulnerable hostages — the sick, the wounded, the elderly, women — would help result in an immediate six-week ceasefire and enable a surge of humanitarian assistance.
Israel has agreed to this framework, and now the onus is on Hamas to do the same. 
And if I could switch to Haiti, if you don’t mind.
We are monitoring Haiti’s rapidly deteriorating security situation with grave concern.  Through the weekend, senior U.S. government officials remained in close contact with senior Haitian government officials and members of the international community to help stabilize the situation and to move quickly toward an enduring political solution.
We’re working with international partners to provide immediate support to the Haitian National Police and expedite the deployment of the Multinational Security Support Mission that will help restore security urgently.
Violence serves only to delay a democratic transition while destroying and upending the lives of thousands.
Ultimately, the path forward lies with democratic governance and free and fair elections, which continue to be a priority in our engagements with our Haitian partners.
We remain committed to a peaceful transition of power from the current prime minister to a prime minister that the people select via those free and fair elections.  Prime Minister Henry has said the same, and we’re going to hold them to that.
We urge all actors: Put the people of Haiti first to stop the violence and to make necessary concessions to allow for inclusive governance, free and fair elections, and the restoration of democracy.
Thank you.
MODERATOR:  Awesome.  And we think we had a sound issue at the beginning, so Kirby is going to read the first two or so paragraphs that we think we missed.  We’ll have a transcript at the end, in a few hours, out online.  So, everyone should be able to reference that in case we missed anything else.  Sorry for the inconvenience.
MR. KIRBY:  Gives me a chance to be more eloquent the second time around.
As you all know, over the weekend the U.S. Department of Defense and the Jordanian Royal Air Force collaborated to airdrop some 38,000 ready-to-eat meals into Gaza.  And this included 66 bundles of aid altogether, packed into three C-130 aircraft. 
We remain the largest provider of aid to the Gaza response, having provided more than $180 million in humanitarian assistance since the 7th of October.
Responding to the humanitarian crisis and needs of the Palestinian people has been a priority since day one, and it remains one today.  But the truth is that the aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere near enough and nowhere fast enough.  And you heard that clearly from President Biden.  We all need to do more, and the United States will do more. 
And I know there’s a lot of interest in additional airdrops.  I can assure you that there will be additional airdrops from U.S. aircraft, but I am not in a position today to tell you exactly when that’s going to be, how many aircraft that’s going to include, and what’s going to be on those aircraft.  But I can assure you that the airdrop over the weekend was only the first, and we will continue to do that in coming days to supplement the flow of humanitarian assistance that’s coming in on the ground.
And speaking of that, we’re also going to continue to work with our Israeli counterparts to increase the amount of aid that’s flowing through those existing border crossings at Rafah and Kerem Shalom and to press the government of Israel to actually open up additional crossings and routes into Gaza.
I think that takes me right to where I left off.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And thank you all for your patience again for that. 
Our first question will go to Steve with Reuters.
Q    Thank you, John.  For a while there, you were doing 200 truck deliveries a day into Gaza.  What happened to that?  I mean, why isn’t Israel allowing more truck deliveries in there?
MR. KIRBY:  Steve, the numbers of trucks getting in, I think you know, has fluctuated almost day to day.  And at the high-water mark, we were up over 200 trucks for some matter of days.  But it’s not been a level we’ve been able to sustain in a reliable fashion since the beginning of the war.  There’s lots of reasons for that.  I mean, it is a war zone.  And the actual combat operations can combine to make it hard to get trucks in.  There’s an inspection regime that can at times slow that process down at both crossings. 
And as you — I think you know, we saw in recent weeks some protest activity at Kerem Shalom, which actually shut down Kerem Shalom for a few days.  We engaged our Israeli counterparts to do what they could to allow for peaceful protest but also locate the protesters in such a way that they were not a hindrance to the flow of aid. 
So there has been some obstacles to getting the aid in that are organic to the fact that we’re talking about a war zone, but also, there have been some inorganic obstacles thrown up, in some cases by some members of the Israeli cabinet, that have made it hard to get that aid in.  And that’s why I think you heard the President so very clearly make certain on Friday, when he was meeting with Prime Minister Meloni, that this is not a time for excuses. 
We’ve got to get more aid in the ground routes.  Although there are obstacles and it can be cumbersome, it’s still the best way to get the most aid in in a quick fashion — or the quickest fashion.  And we’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that happens. 
Q    And the Vice President yesterday called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.  Is there any daylight between what she’s saying and what the President’s position is on this?
MR. KIRBY:  Not at all, Steve.  Not at all.  She made it clear that she was talking about a six-week ceasefire, a temporary ceasefire, which is exactly what the President has called for. 
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Aamer with the AP.
Q    Hey there.  Can you hear me?
MR. KIRBY:  Yes, sir.  Go ahead.
Q    Hey, sorry about that.  On the Gantz bit — meeting, how did this meeting come together?  Was this a Gantz request, or did the White House invite him?
And Israeli officials have made clear that Gantz doesn’t represent the Israeli government during this visit, so why host him for such a high-level meeting when — or meetings — when it’s obviously aggravating to the current government?  Thank you.
MR. KIRBY:  Thanks, Aamer.  This was a request by Mr.  Gantz — Minister Gantz — to come to the United States and have meetings.  And he’s a member of the war cabinet.  There is a war going on between Israel and Hamas.  We have been dealing with all members of the war cabinet, including Minister Gantz, since the beginning of the war, certainly when he joined the war cabinet, which was shortly after the 7th of October.  And we see this as a natural outgrowth of those discussions. 
If a member of the war cabinet from Israel wants to come to the United States, wants to talk to us about the progress of that war, giving us an opportunity to talk about the importance of getting humanitarian assistance increased and an opportunity to talk about the importance of this hostage deal, we’re not going to turn away that sort of opportunity.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to MJ Lee with CNN.
Q    Hey, John.  Thank you for doing this.  I just wanted to clarify one thing, if you can, on the hostage talks.  On the call with reporters yesterday, the senior administration official had said that Israel has basically accepted a six-week ceasefire proposal but that Hamas needs to clarify who exactly would be released in that first part of the vulnerable hostages category.
CNN had reported yesterday that, you know, according to a Hamas source, that one of their sticking points was Israel agreeing to a permanent ceasefire or at least a path to a permanent ceasefire, and that without one of those, Hamas would not release the remaining Israeli hostages.  Is that a Hamas sticking point, as far as the U.S. is concerned?  I was just hoping you could help clarify that.
MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, I think, obviously, I’m going to be a little careful here in speaking about the specific details of the negotiation process.
I would just say that Israel has put forward a forward-leaning offer, and that deal is on the table.  And as I said in my opening statement, we urge Hamas to accept that deal so that we can move forward. 
But, obviously, there’s still modalities here that need to be worked out, and that’s why we’re still engaged in these active conversations.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Andrea Mitchell with NBC.
Q    Hi, John.  Thanks for doing this.  Just to clarify, I know you can’t talk about details, but was the offer that you call forward leaning from Israel, did that include the specificity of the list of hostages who are still alive?  Or is that a new element that has been added to the mix?
Does the White House still think it’s possible to get a deal before Ramadan on or about March 10th? 
And has Hamas come forward with a deal that you also think is forward leaning?  Or is Hamas the major sticking point, from your concern?
MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, Andrea, I’ll try to take them in turn. 
As before — when we did this before, the week-long pause where we got the first tranche of hostages out, obviously a big part of that is the list — right? — the list of hostages and a list of Palestinian prisoners that are going to be exchanged.  That was part of the last deal, and you can certainly imagine that that’s a part of this deal too. 
Now, in this case, we’re talking about more — more of both — over a longer period of time.  And they would be sequenced; you would see several tranches of exchanges over the course of what we hope will be six weeks.  But the list of names is part of that. 
We obviously want all the hostages returned to their families, and we recognize that it’s likely that not all of them are still alive, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still important to their loved ones.  And so, we’re working our way through all that with Hamas.
Again, what I would draw you to is what I said at the opening, and that’s that we certainly want an initial focus on the elderly, the sick, and the wounded, and women.  That’s what our immediate focus is on.  But that’s the goal, and that’s the approach that we’re taking to it. 
And you asked, you know, can we get this done before Ramadan.  I can tell you we’re certainly trying.  I mean, we would have liked to have this done yesterday, last week, the week before.  There’s no shortage of effort that’s being applied here to try to get this done as soon as possible. 
Q    But let me just ask you whether — is it — can you confirm reports that Israel has not returned, has not sent their teams to Cairo in — for whatever reasons, particularly because of objection to not knowing the accounting of the dead?  But in any case, is it true that the technical teams, or the teams from Israel, are not in Cairo with the other teams right now?
MR. KIRBY:  I think I’ll let the Israelis speak for their negotiating team and where they are. 
I would just remind two things.  One, talks do continue, negotiations are ongoing, and that, as I said earlier, Israel has put a forward-leaning deal on the table.  They have made an offer here, and the onus is on Hamas to accept it. 
But where their negotiators are, I’ll let them speak to it. 
And again, back to your question on Ramadan: We certainly are hopeful.  And that’s the goal here — is to get this done as soon as possible.  And certainly, we’d like to see it done before Ramadan begins. 
Q    Thank you, John. 
MR. KIRBY:  I think you had — I think I answered your third question about Hamas being the sticking point.
Q    Well, maybe you didn’t.  I’m sorry. 
Have they put forward, quote, a “forward-leaning” proposal as well?
MR. KIRBY:  They have not.
Q    And is it because of the numbers?
MR. KIRBY:  I’m not going to get into the details.  I’m not going to negotiate in public, Andrea.  I would just tell you that there is a framework deal on the table, a deal that Israel has put forward.  We believe it’s forward leaning.  We believe that Hamas should take up that deal.  And I think I really am going to have to leave it at that.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to JJ with Bloomberg.
Q    Hey there.  On the apparent intelligence leak from Germany that Russia is shopping around, kind of claiming that there’s direct Western involvement in the war in Ukraine, do you think that Berlin needs to do more to clarify that situation?  And is there any reason to think that wiretaps are ongoing?  Any evidence that they might be wiretapping other NATO members?
And then, on a different topic: On Apple and the antitrust fine, is there anything you can share as far as comment on the Europeans lodging that fine against Apple?  Thanks.
MR. KIRBY:  On Berlin, I think the Germans have already talked to this.  They’re investigating how that audio got leaked.  I think I’d refer you to the German officials on that.  And I won’t speak to the content that was leaked into the public domain.  That just plays right into the Russian hands.
I’ll just tell you that this is a bald attempt and a transparent attempt by the Russians to try to sow discord and to try to sow division and try to make it look like the West isn’t unified and, hell, that even the German government is not unified on what they’re doing.  And we’re just not going to — we’re not going to just bow down to that bald attempt.  We’re not going to accept the premise of it.  That’s what the Russians want. 
We’re all working together to try to support Ukraine.  And the Germans have been right there in it, absolutely.  Every nation has to decide for itself what it’s going to do.  And the Germans have stepped up; they’ve stepped up in meaningful ways.  And we look forward to continuing to work with Chancellor Scholz and his government as they continue to find ways to support Ukraine and as we, here at home, do everything we can to try to get that supplemental funding passed so we can continue to support Ukraine. 
You asked if there is evidence that they’re wiretapping others in the Alliance or in Europe.  I wouldn’t have the answer to that for you.  I can just tell you that we are certainly not unmindful of Russian efforts to conduct these kinds of activities.  And we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard our own communications. 
On the Apple fine question, JJ, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to refer you to the EU on that.  That’s about the extent of the comment that we’re going to be able to have today.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Vivian Salama with the Wall Street Journal.
Q    Thanks, Sam.  Hey, John.  I wanted to actually follow on Aamer’s questions from earlier. 
With regard to the Gantz visit, you know, the Israeli press is reporting that Netanyahu is, quote, “enraged” over this.  And so, I’m curious if the White House had attempted at the time, you know, before Gantz arrived, to reach out to Bibi, sort of a “Hey, I know you’re enraged, but I just wanted you to hear it from us” kind of thing. 
Like, did you try to reach out to him ahead of the meeting just to let him know it was happening?  And/or is POTUS or anyone else, Jake or someone, planning on calling Netanyahu after Gantz leaves just to kind of keep him apprised of the discussions, or are you just leaving that to Gantz himself to do?
MR. KIRBY:  I don’t have any discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to today on this.  Again, Minister Gantz is a member of the war cabinet — a member of the war cabinet in the middle of a war, a war in which we are trying to help Israel and will continue to help Israel — and wanted to meet with U.S. officials.  And it was an opportunity not only to hear from him but also to relay our continued concerns about humanitarian assistance, about the importance of getting this hostage deal over the finish line.  And so, we’re going to take advantage of that opportunity. 
Q    Still rather unusual, though, for the Prime Minister to not approve of a meeting and for it to go ahead anyway.  So can you just kind of speak to the decision to go ahead with it, regardless of whether, you know, Bibi’s office kind of gave its blessings?
MR. KIRBY:  Well, I mean, I think I — I mean, obviously, we certainly recognize Prime Minister Netanyahu as the elected prime minister of the government of Israel, and we will continue to deal with him and with his entire war cabinet.  Mr. Gantz is a part of that war cabinet.  I think I’ve kind of already answered that question.  He asked for a set of meetings while he was here in Washington.  A member of the war cabinet of a country at war, an ally and a partner.  We weren’t going to just overlook that opportunity to have that discussion.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Alex Ward of Politico.
Q    Yep.  Thanks, John.  One quick clarification on Vice President Harris’s ceasefire comment.  I want to make sure that her main target for that comment was Hamas when she was talking about the need to agree to a six-week ceasefire. 
And then, secondly, USAID Administrator Power said today, after talking to aid workers, that, quote, “There’s a need for Israel to do much more to get aid to those who desperately need it.”  I know the administration has talked openly — you know, said consistently that more aid needs to get in, but she’s saying that this is mainly — or this is on Israel.  Is that the administration’s assessment?  Is she speaking for the administration on that?  Thanks.
MR. KIRBY:  I’m sorry, Alex, can you repeat the second question?  You were going really fast there.  I was just trying to keep up with you.
Q    No, fair enough.  The countdown clock had me a little worried there. 
So she said today, after speaking with aid workers, quote, “There’s a need for Israel to do much more to get aid to those who desperately need it.”  So just making sure — I know you guys have said more aid needs to get in; you said it today.  But she’s fingering Israel as the problem here.  Just making sure that that is, you know, reflective of the administration’s view that Israel needs to do more to get aid in.
MR. KIRBY:  Thanks, Alex.  So, on your first question, I mean, the short answer to it is yes.  I mean, she was very clear that there’s a deal on the table and Hamas needs to take that deal.  So, yes, she was definitely communicating to Hamas the importance of accepting this deal, a deal which I have described as forward leaning that the Israelis have put forward.  So, yes, clearly, that was a strong message to Hamas to accept this deal and let’s move forward. 
And I want to remind everybody again that the six-week ceasefire she was talking about, the temporary ceasefire she was talking about was in the context of this hostage deal.  It’s all a package.  You get six weeks of peace with no fighting.  That allows you to safely and effectively get all the hostages out.  Again, we’re talking about multiple tranches.  And there’s physical movement of people that has to be accomplished, and you can’t do that if it’s a combat zone. 
So it’s all part of a package deal that would — again, six weeks of no fighting: That will certainly help reduce civilian casualties and the damage to civilian infrastructure, give you the chance to do a multitiered approach of getting hostages out and not unimportantly — and this kind of gets to your second question — an increase of humanitarian assistance in. 
And, yes, you heard from the President, when he met with Prime Minister Meloni on Friday, that we believe Israel can and should do more to allow humanitarian assistance to get in unimpeded.  This, kind of, gets back to Steve Holland’s first question right at the beginning of the gaggle about whether Israel is holding things up and whether they’re responsible for some delays or obstacles.  And the answer is that there has been such — there have been such incidents where they have not been either able or willing, or maybe both, to keep the trucks going at an increased level. 
I mean, clearly, there’s a desperate need for this stuff.  And that’s why we have now taken on the role of dropping from the air, and we’ll continue to do that too to supplement. 
But honestly, the way to do this in scale, true scale and scope, is on the ground, through trunk convoys.  You just can’t replicate the volume and the speed with which you can do this as you can on the ground.  And that requires a lot of coordination between Israel, obviously other partners, but including and most especially aid organizations on the ground.  And just more needs to be done.  And we’ve been, yes, clear that Israel bears a responsibility here to do more.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Karen DeYoung with the Washington Post.  Karen, you should be able to unmute yourself.
Q    You said that Israel has agreed to the framework, and the ball is in Hamas’s court.  When the initial framework came out after the Paris meetings, both sides responded with additional — with changes and additional response.  Is what’s on the table now incorporating those changes in response from both sides, or is it Israel’s side and you’ve given it to Hamas as a last offer — in other words, take it or leave it?
Just as one example, the Hamas response demanded more crossings be open, which is something that the United States has also demanded.  Is that something that Israel has now agreed to?
MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, again, I’m going to be careful here, Karen, not to get into the specific details of the deal.  Nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated.  And we’re still, obviously, in that process right now. 
But the short answer to your question is: Yes, there was back-and-forth, as you know — proposals and counterproposals — between the two sides over recent weeks.  And we believe that the deal that’s on the table now reflects the give-and-take through those negotiations — the back-and-forth, the proposals and counterproposals.
We believe it’s reflective of the concerns that both sides have voiced and hashed out.  But again, there’s still the details in front of us.  We believe that the deal on the table does reflect all that negotiation, and Hamas should take it up.
Q    If I could just — does that include opening more crossings for aid?
MR. KIRBY:  I won’t get into the specifics of the deal, as I said, Karen, but I also said in my opening statements that we continue to call on Israel to open up additional ground crossings beyond just Kerem Shalom and Rafah — or Kerem Shalom, because Rafah is obviously not in Israel.
But, yes, we are calling on Israel to open up additional ground crossings.  But that’s not — I don’t want to get into the details of the deal itself.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question will go to Asma Khalid with NPR. 
Q    Hi.  Thanks, John, for doing this.  I have two quick questions.  One is around the meeting that Jake is having today with Benny Gantz.  What is the message that Jake is trying to deliver to him?  And relatedly, are you all concerned at all about agitating the current Israeli government?
And then, secondly, what is your understanding of why Hamas has not agreed to the six-week temporary ceasefire deal?
MR. KIRBY:  Hang on.  I’m just writing it all down here. 
So, on the meeting between Jake and Benny Gantz, again, we’ll have a readout for you after that meeting is over.  And as you know, he will also be meeting with the Vice President. 
I think it’s safe to say, before we’ve done readouts in meetings, that both Jake and the Vice President will talk to Minister Gantz about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need to increase aid.  I think it’s safe to say that they’ll talk about progress of operations on the ground.  Certainly they’ll want to get a better sense from the Minister and the war cabinet where their thinking is with respect to operations in and around Rafah. 
And I think you can expect that they will also talk about the hostage deal itself.  Separate and aside from humanitarian assistance writ large, he’ll also want to talk to the Minister about getting this hostage deal implemented, getting it executed, getting it in place so that we can get that six weeks of no fighting, get all the hostages out, as well as, of course, getting opportunities to increase the aid. 
But those will be the main topics of discussion.  And, again, we’ll have a readout for you. 
I’ve already dealt with the issue of the Prime Minister stating concerns about Minister Gantz’s travel.  So I really don’t have anything more to add on that question. 
And I simply won’t negotiate here in public.  You asked me why has Hamas not signed on to it.  I think that’s a terrific question for Mr. Sinwar.  It is a forward-leaning proposal.  We believe it’s a solid proposal.  And we believe that it is in everyone’s best interest, including Hamas, for them to sign on on this and to move forward with it.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I think we have time for one more question, so we’ll go to Fraser Jackson with France 24.
Q    Hi, Sam.  Thank you, Admiral.  I was late to the call, so sorry if this has already been asked.  But I wanted to ask about the tape — the conversation that Russia leaked between top German military officials.  Russia says that it’s proof that Germany is seeking war with Russia.  Germany has vehemently denied that.  Is there any U.S. assessment of this leak and how it was obtained?
MR. KIRBY:  It’s proof that the Russians want to sow division and discord and try to demonstrate that the West is divided.  And that’s what it’s proof of.  And obviously, none of that’s true. 
I’m not going to speak to the content in this leak.   The Germans are investigating it, and I think I’d refer you to them.  But as I said earlier, they have been a key friend, ally, and partner in this effort.  They have really stepped up to support Ukraine.  We’re grateful for that.  We’re grateful for Chancellor Scholz’s leadership.
And the last thing I’ll say is: Any validity that anybody gives to this only makes it easier for Putin to sell this ridiculous narrative that this is some sort of war between the West and Russia, the U.S. and Russia, NATO and Russia, or any other way he wants to couch this.  That’s exactly what he wants people to think, instead of what really happened here, which is: In February, two years ago, he decided to attack and invade a neighboring nation that posed no threat to him or anybody else, for that matter.  So nobody should buy into the rhetoric here.  That’s it. 
Q    Is there any U.S. assessment that Putin is using the hesitancy of the U.S. to send more Ukraine aid?  Is he trying to weaponize that to take advantage of it in the war?
MR. KIRBY:  Well, look, I mean, you don’t have to look any further than the air attacks that he continues to conduct, whether it’s cruise and/or ballistic missiles and/or drones.  He’s going after military targets in Ukraine, of course, and he’s going after the defense industrial base.  But he’s also throwing a hell of a lot of metal into the air so that he can get the Ukrainians to fire back at it and defend themselves, because he knows they’re working their way through inventory right now. 
So part of this is trying to get them to pare down their inventory because he knows that the United States is now not able to send a significant amount of support and aid to Ukraine. So he’s certainly taking advantage of what he’s seeing happen on Capitol Hill.  And the dysfunction in our own system up there on Capitol Hill is definitely giving him an opportunity to place his own military positions at greater advantage. 
And I’ll tell you, look — I mean, again, I talked about this last week but still true today: He’s not stopping, not on the ground either.  He’s got Avdiivka.  And over the last few days, he’s taken a couple other towns and villages to the west of Avdiivka.  He’s moving forward against Ukrainian defensive lines, defensive lines that they are having a harder time defending and holding because they’re not getting the support from the United States that they have been counting on. 
So it’s way past time for us to get that national security supplemental passed, way past time for us to start restocking Ukrainian shelves so that they can better defend themselves. 
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And thank you, everyone, again for joining.  Sorry again for the audio issue at the top.  Again, we’ll have a transcript out in a few hours. 
And if we weren’t able to get to you, feel free to reach out to the NSC press distro and we’ll try to get back as soon as we can.  Thanks.
2:31 P.M. EST

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