Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday clarified remarks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, telling Fox Nation’s “Piers Morgan Uncensored” that his previous comments have been “mischaracterized.”
“Well, I think it’s been mischaracterized. Obviously, Russia invaded that and that was wrong,” he said. “They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014. That was wrong. What I’m referring to is kinda where the fighting is going on now, which is that western border or eastern border reaching Donbas and then Crimea.”
DeSantis told host Piers Morgan that his comments calling the war a “territorial dispute” were referring to “the conflict area,” instead of saying that he “thought Russia had a right to that.”
He called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” and “basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons.”
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“And so, if I should have made that more clear, I could have done it,” he noted. “But I think the larger point is, OK, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO. That’s a good thing. They’ve been weakened. You now have the fighting in those areas.”
However, the governor doubled down on his position, saying the U.S. should not escalate its involvement and that more American weapons or ground troops would be a “mistake.”
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“I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there. But the idea that I think somehow Russia was justified, that’s nonsense,” he said.
“If I could snap my fingers, I’d give it back to Ukraine 100 percent,” DeSantis added. “Russia did not have the right to go into Crimea or to go in February of 2022, and that should be clear.”
Previously, the governor told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that “while the U.S. has many vital national interests . . . becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”
His statement drew swift criticism from Republicans.
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