National Security Council spokesman John Kirby mocked the upcoming Russian presidential election while speaking to the press aboard Air Force One.
In response to questions from the press, Kirby was asked to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his candidacy to retain his position.
“Well, this is going to be a horse race, isn’t it?” Kirby said jokingly.
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He added: “That’s all I have to say about this.”
Putin, 71, announced his decision to run for re-election in March following an awards ceremony in the Kremlin, where war veterans and others reportedly pleaded with him to run.
With his grip on power already tightened, Putin is widely expected to win another six-year term, although a change to the country’s constitution would allow him to run again in 2030, potentially extending his power until 2036. It received a 76-seat vote share in the 2018 elections.
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Kirby addressed the decline in financial support provided by the United States to Ukraine at a White House press conference on Friday.
In response to a journalist’s question about reports that Putin’s regime is celebrating Republican opposition to continued financing of the conflict, Kirby said the failure of Western powers to maintain the defense of Ukraine plays into the dictator’s interest.
“This is a great gift to Vladimir Putin that we withdraw from Ukraine. He is counting on that. He has been counting on this kind of development since early in this war, because he did not believe that the West could remain united.” “Kirby said.
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He continued: “He did not believe that NATO could remain united. He did not believe that the United States had the ability to survive.”
Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny last week urged his supporters to vote for anyone but Putin.
“Putin views these elections as a referendum on approval of his actions,” Navalny said in an online statement. “A referendum on approving the war. Let’s disrupt his plans and make it happen so that on March 17 no one cares about the rigged result, but all of Russia saw and understood: the will of the majority is that Putin must leave.” “.
Fox News Digital’s Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.