Memo to Sen. Rand Paul: Ukraine is an independent country, not a Soviet puppet state.
The Kentucky conservative firebrand parroted a talking point by Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that Russia only invades countries once part of the former Soviet Union.
“You could argue the countries they’ve attacked were part of Russia,” Paul said on Tuesday in a contentious exchange with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Capitol Hill.
“I firmly disagree with that proposition,” Blinken shot back. “It is the fundamental right of those countries to decide their future.”
Appearing to give a rationale for Putin’s attack on Ukraine and previous interventions in Georgia and Moldova, Paul noted that all those countries were once part of Russia’s communist empire.
“The countries that were attacked were part of the Soviet Union since the 1920s,” Paul said.
“That doesn’t give Russia the right to attack them,” Blinken shot back.
“There is no justification for the invasion, I’m not saying that. But there are reasons for the invasion,” Paul added.
The spat with Blinken started when Paul launched a diatribe against the Biden Administration’s policy to Ukraine, arguing that the U.S. should have not crossed Russia’s “red line” against even discussing NATO membership for Ukraine.
He suggested that if Ukraine had won NATO membership, U.S. troops would now be fighting in war-torn Ukraine.
Blinken retorted that Russia might have been deterred from invading if Ukraine were a NATO member like the Baltic states.
“(Russia) has not attacked NATO countries for probably a very good reason,” Blinken said.