DeSantis calls Putin a ‘war criminal’ after labeling Ukraine war a ‘territorial dispute’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) offered a harsh rebuke of Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a “war criminal” days after earlier comments about the Russian-Ukrainian war sparked controversy.
“I think he is a war criminal,” DeSantis said during an interview with Fox Nation’s “Piers Morgan Uncensored.”
“I do think that he should be held accountable,” DeSantis added.
The criticism of Putin comes just after the Florida governor and potential Republican presidential candidate faced sharp backlash from inside his own party for asserting last week that the war in Ukraine is a “territorial dispute” and saying support of the war was not in the U.S.’s “vital national interest.”
Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), for example, said that if someone did not understand the threat posed by Russia then they “have seriously miscalculated one of the most obvious nexuses in the world.”
In the new interview, DeSantis took sharper aim at Putin, telling Morgan the Russian president has “grand ambitions” without the military capability to fully realize them.
“I think he’s got grand ambitions. I think he’s hostile to the United States,” DeSantis said. “But I think the thing that we’ve seen is he doesn’t have the conventional capability to realize his ambitions. And so he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of war crimes for the deportation of Ukrainian children. But neither Russia or the U.S. recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, meaning it is unlikely Putin will actually face arrest. The arrest warrant also came after a United Nations report last week concluded that it was likely Russia had committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conflict.
Putin has also made diplomatic moves on the international stage in recent weeks that have raised Western eyebrows. He hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week in Moscow, with fears that relations between Moscow and Beijing are tightening quickly.
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