Pentagon blames ‘fat finger mistake’ for reposting Tucker Carlson’s Ukraine take

The US defense chief’s account retweeted a screenshot of the Fox News host’s comment on the Russian military deployments

No, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hasn’t come over to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s side on Ukraine policy. The Pentagon has deleted a Twitter post in which the defense chief’s account mistakenly shared a Fox News screenshot that appeared to defend Moscow’s motives in massing troops near Ukraine in December.

“It was a fat finger mistake by one of our social media guys,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told media outlet Politico on Monday. “He undid it immediately.”

However, the post lives on as a screenshot of the apparently inadvertent retweet from Austin’s account. The photo in question was from December, when Fox host Tucker Carlson defended Putin’s controversial deployment of military forces near Ukraine’s borders. A caption at the bottom said, “Putin just wants to keep his western border secure.”

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Like other US officials, the secretary of defense warned for weeks of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. For instance, Austin earlier this month likened Russia’s military to a snake that was uncoiling and preparing to strike Ukraine. He told ABC News that Russia’s deployments near Ukraine were “not a bluff,” and an invasion could happen “any day.”

READ MORE: Ukraine won’t get any US combat troops, Pentagon says


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