DeSantis Condemns Putin as ‘War Criminal’ in Ukraine Commentary Clean-Up


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” during an interview with Piers Morgan set to air on Fox Nation Thursday night, clarifying a controversial statement on the war in Ukraine that he released last week.

While DeSantis had previously described the conflict — which began with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor last February — as a “territorial dispute,” he was careful to assign blame for it to Putin during his conversation with Morgan.

“Obviously, Russia invaded — that was wrong. They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014 — That was wrong,” said DeSantis.

Asked by Morgan if he agreed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should charge Putin for war crimes, DeSantis replied “I think he is a war criminal,” but said he wasn’t sure about what role the ICC’s should play in it, because the U.S. is not a state party to it.

“I don’t know about that [the ICC] route, but I do think that he should be held accountable,” he continued.

The comments drew a sharp contrast between DeSantis’s view of Putin and that of his chief competitor for the Republican nomination, former president Donald Trump, who has praised the invasion of Ukraine as “savvy” and even “genius.”

Still, DeSantis stood by his original statement’s implication that the the U.S. should be careful about “becoming further entangled” in the war for prudential reasons:

What I’m referring to is where the fighting is going on now which is that eastern border region Donbas, and then Crimea, and you have a situation where Russia has had that. I don’t think legitimately but they had. There’s a lot of ethnic Russians there. So, that’s some difficult fighting and that’s what I was referring to and so it wasn’t that I thought Russia had a right to that, and so if I should have made that more clear, I could have done it, but I think the larger point is, okay, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO. That’s a good thing. 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 (in invading) — that’s nonsense. . . .

If I could snap my fingers, I’d give it back to Ukraine 100 percent. But the reality is what is America’s involvement in terms of escalating with more weapons, and certainly ground troops I think would be a mistake. So, that was the point I was trying to make but Russia was wrong to invade. They were wrong to take Crimea.



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