Vindman says GOP ‘attacks on our democracy’ emboldened Putin

Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in former President Trump’s first impeachment trial, said Thursday that GOP lawmakers’ “attacks on our democracy” emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to go forward with his military invasion of Ukraine. 

Vindman, a former National Security Council official, quoted a tweet from Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the House Republican Conference chairwoman, that blamed what she called President Biden’s weak foreign policy for allowing Moscow to strike, citing the recent cyberattacks on U.S. businesses and the bloody U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

“Putin is responsible for this war, but you deserve a great deal of responsibility for it,” Vindman responded with the hashtag #GOPownsthis. “It is your vile attacks on our democracy, that suggested to Putin he can conduct this war. Your actions suggested that the U.S. was weak and distracted.”

The Kremlin has been building its forces along the Ukrainian border for weeks, while also conducting joint military operations in Belarus.

In an op-ed piece published by The Atlantic, Vindman, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union as a child, wrote the U.S. could’ve done so much more to help Ukraine ahead of the Russian incursion.

“This moment might be surreal were it not for the overt warning signs. The Kremlin built up Russian forces along Ukraine’s borders even as it issued maximalist demands and shut down diplomatic off-ramps. Long-term geopolitical trends — such as Ukraine’s decisive pivot to the West and Russia’s irredentism — shaped the contours of conflict,” Vindman wrote. 

“Meanwhile, the Biden administration progressively raised the alarm about the Kremlin’s likely course of action. But even if this conflict was foreseeable, that does not mean it was inevitable.”

Vindman gained national prominence in 2019 after he testified about a phone call in which Trump floated a deal to the president of Ukraine involving an exchange of U.S. military aid for an investigation into then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his ties to Ukrainian businesses in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Tags Alexander Vindman Donald Trump Elise Stefanik Joe Biden Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Ukraine invasion Ukraine-Russia border Vladimir Putin

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