U.S. Presidential hopeful says helping Ukraine defend against Russian aggression ‘not in U.S. interests’

14 March, 02:08 PM
Ron DeSantis (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Ron DeSantis (Photo:REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis said yesterday that helping Ukraine against the brutal war of aggression launched by Russia “isn’t a vital American national strategic interest,” Fox News reported on March 13.

Asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson about his stance on Russia’s war on Ukraine, DeSantis distanced himself from other Republican candidates whose issues are that U.S. President Joe Biden isn’t doing enough for Ukraine.

DeSantis instead said that the United States “should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders,” adding that providing F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles would be “off the table.”

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“While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness with our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” he said.

According to The New York Times, DeSantis’ views on Ukraine now align with former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, who said that “both sides are weary and ready to make a deal” and that the “death and destruction must end now.” Trump has already said he would let Russia “take over” parts of Ukraine in a negotiated deal.

The position taken by DeSantis and Trump is at odds with the passionate support for defending Ukraine demonstrated by some other Republican Presidential candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January, the share of Republicans who say the United States is providing too much support to Ukraine is growing. Today, 40% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents hold this view, up from 32% in the fall and the 9% who held this view in March 2022.

Earlier, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, said that she felt strong bipartisan support for Ukraine.

A small group of House Republicans travelled to Ukraine after President Biden’s Kyiv visit on Feb. 20. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with House Foreign Affairs committee chair Michael McCaul and four other House Republicans, telling them that he planned to send them a list of weapons, including F-16 fighter jets, that he believes are necessary to end the war with Russia, reported CNN.

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