Kentucky Senator Rand Paul warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday over the occupation of southern Ukraine, with the libertarian-leaning Republican claiming that “if he’s going to act like a rogue nation, he will be isolated.”
Paul spoke to Fox News’ Greta van Susteren at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he delivered a speech on Friday. “What will you do about Putin and Ukraine?” the reporter asked the prospective 2016 presidential candidate.
Often criticized by right-wing hawks for his push to limit American involvement overseas Paul’s response indicated a willingness to articulate clear consequences to aggression without resorting to military confrontation. “We have to tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. He needs to be isolated,” the senator said. “And if he’s going to act like a rogue nation, he will be isolated.”
“I don’t think that involves a military option,” Paul continued, “and I think that most of the party has come to my way of thinking on this, that there really isn’t a military option for us there. That doesn’t mean that we don’t react, and that we don’t let Putin know in clear and uncertain terms that what he’s done is unacceptable.”
The senator also noted that if Russia pushes beyond Crimea and invades the rest of the country, an international response may be the least of Putin’s problems. “If he tries to further occupy Ukraine, my prediction is Ukraine becomes Syria,” he said, referencing the bloody 3-year civil war ravaging that country. “If Ukraine becomes Syria it’ll be a disaster for Russia, and he better think twice about it. Because one Ukrainian teenager with $200 of explosives could disrupt his pipelines.”
“So they’re not going to submit to the will of Russia,” he concluded. “They’re not going to submit to subjugation. So I think this hand is not yet over.”
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