Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that, if he were president, he would not let Russian President Vladimir Putin get away with his incursion into Ukraine.
Paul on Monday described the movement of Russian troops into the Crimean Peninsula as a gross violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and argued it is the United States’ responsibility to take the lead in condemning it.
He also criticized President Obama’s policies toward Russia, arguing they have emboldened Putin.
“The real problem is that Russia’s president is not currently fearful or threatened in any way by America’s president, despite his country’s blatant aggression,” Paul wrote in a Time magazine op-ed. “But let me be clear: If I were president, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it.”
Paul, fresh off a straw poll victory at the Conservative Political Action Conference, called on the administration to suspend all U.S. aid and loans to Ukraine. He argued that money would just end up in Russia’s hands, given Ukraine’s gas bill to Russian-owned Gazprom.
Paul did not mention the House’s passage last week of $1 billion loan guarantees to Ukraine.
“Currently, these could have the counterproductive effect of rewarding Russia,” he said. “Ukraine owes so much money to Russia that America would essentially be borrowing from China to give to Ukraine.”
Paul argued the U.S. should immediately remove any obstacle preventing the U.S. from exporting natural gas to Europe. He argued that step would make Europe less dependent on Russian natural gas.
“Because of so many of our current needless laws and regulations, President Obama has left Europe completely vulnerable because of its dependence on Russian oil and gas,” Paul said.
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