The US president demanded that reporters “play by the rules” at Ukraine press event and refrain from asking off-topic questions US President Joe Biden © Getty Images / Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu

US President Joe Biden pushed back against a reporter’s questions about the situation in Gaza during a press conference with Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday, then requested that journalists stick to the particular topic set for such functions.

A reporter for Bloomberg News asked the president to assess the recent response submitted by Hamas to the US-backed peace proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza. Earlier this week, the Palestinian group had rejected the deal in its current form and requested a number of changes, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described as “not workable.”

At the press conference on Thursday, however, Biden refused to answer in detail, instead lambasting the reporter for going off topic. “Wish you guys would play by the rules a little bit,” Biden replied. “I’m here to talk about a critical situation in Ukraine, you asked me another subject. I’ll be happy to answer in detail later.”

The president did comment that Hamas’ refusal to sign on to the ceasefire deal was the “biggest hang-up” in the US’ efforts towards a peace agreement in Gaza, but stressed that “we’re going to continue to push.”

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) has responded to the US president’s outburst, pointing out in a statement that “there are no preconditions regarding question topics” and stressing that “professional journalists decide what to ask.”

WHCA president Kelly O’Donnell also noted that while any leader may “prefer that reporters ask only one question” or ask only about topics that are of interest to the president, a free press “functions independently.”

Blinken responds to Hamas ceasefire conditions Blinken responds to Hamas ceasefire conditions

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Blinken responds to Hamas ceasefire conditions

Biden and Zelensky held the joint press conference after signing a ten-year bilateral security agreement, under which Washington has pledged to continue its support for Kiev amid its conflict with Russia.

The US has promised to “help deter and confront any future aggression against the territorial integrity” of Ukraine and to “support Ukraine’s efforts to win today’s war and deter future Russian military aggression” by way of continued military aid, intelligence sharing and economic assistance.

Ukraine has previously signed similar pacts with other NATO countries, including the UK, France and Germany. Kiev says it now has a total of 17 security agreements with foreign backers, while “ten more [are] in preparation.” None of these agreements, however, have the power to trigger NATO’s Article 5, which requires member states to come to each other’s defense if one comes under attack. (RT)