Menendez says US not in proxy war with Russia

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 to discuss state and local tax caps.
Greg Nash

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Sunday said the U.S. is not fighting a proxy war with Russia by arming and funding Ukraine’s resistance against Moscow’s invasion.

Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” the U.S. will continue to “help Ukraine and defeat Russia,” but emphasized the U.S. is not fighting a proxy war or trying to weaken Russia.

“Ukraine is a test for the west, it’s a test for international order,” he said. “Can one country — this case Russia under [President Vladimir] Putin — erase the borders of Europe [or] change a country by force?”

The U.S. has poured billions of dollars into arming and funding Ukraine as the nation fights off a Russian invasion launched in late February.

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. was pushing to “weaken” Russia.

Menendez suggested on “Meet the Press” that Austin was referring to the theory that Russia may try to seize other countries if Putin is victorious in Ukraine.

“At the end of the day,” he added, “we don’t want to see Russia go into Moldova or a NATO country.”

The Democratic senator said that a Ukrainian victory would balance the international order, saying Russia and other countries imposing on sovereign nations’ rights would be deterred.

“If we do that, we’ll be safer, the international order will be preserved,” he said. “Others who are looking at what is happening in Ukraine will have to think twice.”

Tags Bob Menendez Bob Menendez Lloyd Austin russia ukraine

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