DeSantis calls Putin a 'war criminal' after saying Ukraine not a 'vital' U.S. interest

DeSantis indicated that Putin has high aspirations for Russia, but he lacks the tangible means to achieve them.

Published: March 22, 2023 9:35pm

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had strong words for Russian President Vladimir Putin in a recent interview with Piers Morgan.

The governor identified Putin as a "war criminal," according to Fox News. The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Putin's arrest in connection with a scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia, although Moscow does not recognize the court's jurisdiction.

DeSantis indicated that Putin has high aspirations for Russia, but he lacks the tangible means to achieve them.

"I think he’s got grand ambitions. I think he’s hostile to the United States, but I think the thing that we’ve seen is he doesn’t have the conventional capability to realize his ambitions," he said. "And so, he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons and one of the things we could be doing better is utilizing our own energy resources in the US."

The Florida governor made headlines last week after his response to a query about the ongoing war in Ukraine was aired by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. DeSantis indicated that the conflict was not of critical concern to the U.S. and that the country would be better off limiting its involvement and focusing elsewhere.

"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," he said. "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."

These comments come as polling indicates that Republicans are split over the war in Ukraine, with nearly half appearing to agree with DeSantis about its importance to American interests.  Polling also places former President Donald Trump, the most significant Republican candidate in the way of a DeSantis presidential campaign, ahead of the Florida governor, who has not declared his candidacy.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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