On 11 May 2022, John Kirby’s interview with Fox News was manipulatively disseminated through Facebook. A Facebook user published a photograph from a Fox News broadcast with the following caption: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby Admitted that the United States and a Number of Western countries trained Ukraine for War for Eight Years).

This information is manipulative because the context of the sentence in the publication has been distorted. Such an interpretation of John Kirby’s statement left readers with the impression that Mr Kirby admitted that the USA and other Western countries trained Ukraine to wage war. In fact, he stated that they were aware for years that Russia planned to invade Ukraine as a result of intelligence information whilst the USA and allied nations provided financial and military assistance to Ukraine in order to make it better prepared for the Russian aggression.

On 10 May 202, the Pentagon’s Press Secretary, John Kirby visited the Fox News broadcast – Your World. At five minutes into the interview, the Fox News anchor asked Mr Kirby about US intelligence services: “There has been a back and forth among top intelligence officials today in Washington where US intelligence was questioned not only here in Ukraine but going back to what was going on in Syria where we believe that the US-backed government would hold out for months and did not. We had similar expectations that the Russians would have an easy victory in Ukraine and did not. Is there something wrong with our military intelligence that it misses the mark?”

In response to this question, John Kirby replied that intelligence is never perfect and it is a “mosaic.” With respect to Ukraine, he stated that it was said loud and clear from the podium at the Pentagon and from all over town as well in as international capitals around the world and, particularly, in Europe what Russian intentions were vis-à-vis Ukraine: “And not everybody believed us at the time but we were very right about what Russia was about to do. And we also worked hard in the lead-up to that invasion… We declassified the intelligence… And with respect to Ukraine, the intelligence community was certainly more right than wrong.”

The anchor asked John Kirby another question on arming Ukraine. In particular, in hindsight of the situation of the ground and given his experience, he was interested in whether or not Mr Kirby thought that weapons should have been supplied to Ukraine months before.

In response to this question, John Kirby replied that the Biden administration was flowing weapons into Ukraine well before the invasion: “The first billion dollars that the president committed to Ukraine did include lethal assistance. And that was before Putin decided to move in. Plus, we were very open and honest about what we were seeing the Russians do. And then the last point, which I do not think we keep in mind as much as we should, is the training and effort that went into getting the Ukrainians ready for this kind of war over the last eight years. The United States, Canada, Britain other allies really helped train the Ukrainians.”

Therefore, the information in the aforementioned publication is manipulative. John Kirby said that US and other allied nations trained Ukraine for eight years not for waging war but for defending itself from it.


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