On Friday, Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on potential sanctions against Russia, and why the United States would wait until after an invasion to implement them instead of right now.

After noting that the sanctions likely wouldn’t include action related to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), and that a recent cyberattack has been attributed to Russia, Heinrich asked Psaki if a change of strategy is warranted.

“So, at what point do you break away from the strategy, say it’s not working, and do something else — impose some of these sanctions now?” the reporter asked.

Psaki responded, saying that “sanctions are meant to be a deterrent,” and if they were to be imposed now, “what is stopping them from invading?”

Heinrich asked if the deterrent is working, to which Psaki replied that it’s “our assessment from the national security team,” and that the strategy would continue.

“So, you’re waiting for people to die before implementing them in that case?” Heinrich posed.

Psaki called Heinrich’s question “unfair,” adding that President Biden has united “countries around the world on a strong package that will be crippling to the Russian economy.”

The press secretary also said that one of Putin’s apparent goals is to divide NATO countries, which, she said, has not happened.

“So, you’re waiting for people to die before implementing them in that case?” Heinrich posed.

Psaki called Heinrich’s question “unfair,” adding that President Biden has united “countries around the world on a strong package that will be crippling to the Russian economy.”

The press secretary also said that one of Putin’s apparent goals is to divide NATO countries, which, she said, has not happened.

Additionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that sanctions should be imposed now:

You’re telling me that it’s 100% that the war will start in a couple of days. Then what [are you] waiting for? … We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen, and after our country will be fired at or after we will have no borders or after we will have no economy or parts of our country will be occupied. Why would we need those sanctions then?

TRANSCRIPT:

HEINRICH: And on Ukraine, the sanctions, we’ve learned, don’t include SWIFT, they don’t target energy, so the impacts to other countries are mitigated. You guys have attributed this cyberattack to Russia, and you’re warning that the prospect of war is — or peace, rather, is pretty dim. So, at what point do you break away from the strategy, say it’s not working, and do something else — impose some of these sanctions now?

PSAKI: Well, I think as we’ve talked about a little bit in here, our collective view from our national security team is that sanctions are meant to be a deterrent. They are not — if you put all of the sanctions in place now, what is stopping them from invading?

HEINRICH: But are they working?

PSAKI: Well, again, Jacqui, I think that’s our assessment from the national security team and — you know, that we will continue to implement that strategy.

HEINRICH: So you’re waiting for people to die before implementing them in that case?

PSAKI: I think, Jacqui, that’s in no way a fair statement — or accusation, I guess, if that’s what that is.

What we have done and what the president has done is unite hundr- — countries around the world on a strong package that will be crippling to the Russian economy. And we have done that in a way where we have stood up for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and stood with our NATO partners and Allies.

It has always been up to President Putin and Russia to determine which path they were going to take. That has not changed. But that leadership on the world stage is what has led to a united front and united opposition to these actions.

And I would also note that regardless of what decision President Putin decides to make, one of his intended objectives, I think, as we’ve seen out there, is to divide NATO — the opposite has happened; to divide, maybe, the United States and divide leadership in the United States — the opposite has happened.

So, if that was his objective, he’s already not achieving that.

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