Defending Ukraine against Russia’s invasion is not a vital U.S. interest, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement to Fox News made public Monday.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within 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,” DeSantis said in response to a questionnaire about the war Fox News reporters posed to several declared and potential Republican presidential candidates.
The Republican governor — who has yet to officially enter the GOP primary, though he is widely expected to — echoed remarks House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made last year, criticizing the Biden administration for what he described as writing a “blank check” to Ukraine.
Though DeSantis acknowledged that “peace should be the objective,” he warned that sending in troops, or advanced weapons like F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles, “would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.”
His remarks come as Russia prepares to launch its highly telegraphed spring offensive into Ukrainian territory. Publicly, some GOP members of Congress have become split over the issue of the United States’ continued support for Ukraine, particularly the expense of supporting Ukraine against the Russian invaders.
DeSantis’ remarks put him generally in line with former President Donald Trump on the issue, who has said that defending the country from Russia is not a vital U.S. interest, but is vital for Europe.
In his statement, DeSantis emphasized the importance of prioritizing U.S. defense, particularly at the southern border.
“We cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland, especially as tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year from narcotics smuggled across our open border and our weapons arsenals critical for our own security are rapidly being depleted,” he said.
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