Ned Price was fielding questions from reporters after US intelligence officials claimed Russia’s plan which included using a faked video that involves staging and filming a fabricated attack by the Ukrainian military either on Russian territory or against Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine. But Joe Biden’s official lost it with a reporter who asked a “perfectly legitimate” question on the report.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked: “What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?”
Mr Price argued: “This is derived from information known to the US government, intelligence information that we have declassified.”
Mr Lee interjected: “Ok, well where is the evidence? I would like some proof that the Russians are doing this.”
After five minutes of back and forth, Mr Price claimed the reporter’s questioning was playing into Russia’s plans.
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He said: “If you doubt the credibility of the US 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.”
Later, Mr Price wrote on Twitter: “The renowned Matt Lee and I have had our fair share of sparring sessions, and I have the scars to prove it.
“Clearly, he’s no one’s dupe, and I’d never want to suggest otherwise.
“Nothing but respect for him, which I underscored in a call to him after the briefing.”
CNN’s Brianna Keiler discussed the moment after saying: “Let’s be clear. That was the State Department spokesman suggesting an American reporter is siding with Russian propaganda.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has accused Russia of “unprovoked aggression and underhand activity” to destabilise Ukraine following reports of a plan by Moscow to fabricate a pretext for an invasion using a faked video.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Ms Truss said: “This is clear and shocking evidence of Russia’s unprovoked aggression and underhand activity to destabilise Ukraine.
“This bellicose intent towards a sovereign democratic country is completely unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”