Ron DeSantis calls Putin a ‘war criminal’, clarifies earlier comment on Ukraine

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this week described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute,” and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is a “war criminal” who must be “held accountable,” he said.

Mr. Trump, a Republican who is expected to announce a presidential campaign in the coming months DeSantis made his latest comments in an interview with Piers Morgan, a British broadcaster he shared with Rupert Murdoch-owned The New York Post and Fox News. .

Last week, Mr. DeSantis issued one of the most important statements of the 2024 presidential campaign to date, to Tucker Carlson, an influential Fox News anchor who criticized the Biden administration’s approach to Ukraine. “While the United States has many important national interests, becoming more embroiled in the territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Mr. DeSantis said in his statement.

Mr. DeSantis was then Mr. Not to mention Putin, and criticized President Biden’s policy for Ukraine as an “empty experiment” with no clear objectives and a distraction from America’s problems.

The line about a “territorial dispute” has drawn sharp criticism from foreign policy hawks and Republicans in Congress, as well as some Republican donors privately. It was former President Donald J. With Trump’s comments, Mr. Agree with DeSantis’ comments.

But Mr. DeSantis said earlier this week that Mr. Using a lengthy interview with Morgan, Mr. He clarified his statement to Carlson.

“I think he’s a war criminal,” said Mr. DeSantis Mr. Said of Putin, for whom the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for war crimes. “I don’t know about that route,” he said of the arrest warrant, “but I think he needs to be held accountable.”

Mr. To Morgan, Mr. DeSantis insisted, but admitted he could have been clearer.

“Obviously, Russia invaded” in 2022, Mr. DeSantis said. “That’s wrong. They invaded Crimea and took it in 2014 – that’s wrong.

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This change Mr. It seemed not lost on Carlson. Mr. Mr. Putin. Hours after DeSantis’ new comments were made public, Mr. Carlson attacked what he called their subservience to the news media, insisting they were “forced to repeat whatever childish slogan they came up with.” This week.” “Vladimir Putin is a war criminal,” he said in a mocking voice.

When he was a congressman from Florida, Mr. Obama said President Obama’s administration didn’t do much since Russia annexed Crimea. DeSantis charged.

“What I’m referring to is where the fighting is happening right now, which is the eastern border region of Donbass and then Crimea,” Mr. DeSantis said. Also, “There are a lot of Russians there. So, it’s some tough fights, that’s what I’m referring to, so I don’t think Russia has the right to that, so if I’d made that more clear, I could have done that.

But he added, “The big thing is that Russia has not shown the ability to take over Ukraine, overthrow the government, or certainly threaten NATO. That’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s interesting enough to drive more engagement. I don’t want to see US forces involved there. But somehow I think Russia is justified in invading is “stupid”.

“He does not believe that the conflict will end with Putin winning,” he added. I don’t think the Ukrainian government will be overthrown by him, and I think that’s a good thing.

Mr. on Russia. DeSantis’ position, Mr. It is of significant interest to Republicans seeking an alternative to Trump. A large part of the Republican Party Voters say the U.S. is giving too much support to Ukraine.

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The governor has a track record as a congressman of convincing different people who believe he shares their foreign policy, even if those people are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

But Mr. His comments for Carlson have been strongly condemned by several Republican senators, including former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as prospective 2024 contenders. And Mr. The initial lack of criticism of Putin was noted, particularly by Mr. DeSantis, Mr. In his initial statement to Carlson, he scoffed at the idea of ​​regime change in Russia.

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