Ron DeSantis dismisses Ukraine war as ‘territorial dispute’ as he downplays need for US aid

The Florida governor criticises the Biden administration’s ‘blank check’ for Ukraine and says it ‘distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges’

Eric Garcia
Tuesday 14 March 2023 14:54 GMT
Smoke rises over Kyiv as Russian strikes hit regions across Ukraine

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia’s assault on its sovereignty was not in the United States’ national interest.

The Fox News host, who has frequently criticised US support for Ukraine, sent a questionnaire to multiple Republican candidates for president and potential candidates for president.

“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,” Mr DeSantis said in response to Mr Carlson’s question.

“The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict for ‘as long as it takes,’ without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges,” Mr DeSantis added.

Mr DeSantis has begun to lay the groundwork to run for the Republican nomination for president against former president Donald Trump.

Many Republicans have become more sceptical of support for Ukraine in recent months. Some have spread the false claim that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that US troops would need to fight in the war, which Mr DeSantis echoed.

“Without question, peace should be the objective,” he said. “The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders.”

As a result, Mr DeSantis, a US Navy veteran, said the United States should not provide long-range missiles or F-16 jets.

“These moves 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,” he said. “That risk is unacceptable.”

Mr DeSantis also criticised people calling for “regime change” in Russia and said it was “no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists,” as it “would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict.”

“Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin,” he said. “History indicates that Putin’s successor, in this hypothetical, would likely be even more ruthless. The costs to achieve such a dubious outcome could become astronomical.”

He added that US citizens should know how US aid money is being spent in Ukraine. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has proposed legislation to audit US spending in Ukraine.

“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.

Mr DeSantis is largely expected to announce his run for president in the summer.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in