On Wednesday, AP reporter Matt Lee grilled State Department spokesman Ned Price over statements on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Price told reporters that Russia plans to stage a false-flag operation in order to justify an invasion of Ukraine. Lee then asked for evidence, leading to a heated exchange.
During his opening remarks, Price stated that “that Moscow might create a false flag operation” to justify an invasion of Ukraine, citing the existence of a Russian intelligence propaganda video that allegedly depicts “explosions and fake corpses,” “crisis actors pretending to be mourners” and “images of destroyed locations or military equipment” on the ground in Ukraine. The State Department contends that Russia may stage the attack in the separatist regions of Ukraine, where the population is primarily Russian speaking. The alleged propaganda video could serve as the “green light” for Russian troops to invade, according to the Biden Administration.
Price was then challenged by Lee, who said the State Department had provided “no evidence” in support of their claims. “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do,” Price responded. He also referenced a previous report where the State Department claimed they had information that proves Russia was positioning operatives in Eastern Ukraine. “So that Matt, to your question, is an action that Russia has already taken,” Price said regarding the report.
Please watch this video in which journalist Matt Lee accuses State Dept. spokesman Ned Price of veering into "Alex Jones territory" by making the claim that Russia plans to stage a "false flag" attack with "crisis actors" — Price then sneeringly calls Lee a Russian propagandist pic.twitter.com/5xMsbfWYgz
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 3, 2022
Lee was not satisfied and demanded more than just the administration’s claims alone. “It’s an action that you say they have taken, but you have shown no evidence to confirm that,” Lee said. “What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?”
After again failing to provide tangible evidence, Lee asked to see the documents that contributed to the report, which are declassified according to Price. “Where is the declassified information?” asked Lee. Price then said that he “just delivered it,” to which Lee replied “no you made a series of allegations and statements.”
“Ned I’ve been doing this for a long time…. and I remember WMDs in Iraq and I remember that Kabul is not gonna fall. I remember a-lot of things,” Lee said. The two continued to go back and forth for another two minutes while Price refused to provide tangible evidence of the State Department’s claims.
The spat comes as Biden plans to deploy thousands of U.S. troops to Eastern Europe in case of a Russian incursion in Ukraine.