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Washington, D.C. During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned the Obama Administration of the ongoing threat Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals pose to NATO and the ceasefire efforts in Ukraine.

A video of Rubio’s full remarks is available here.

An excerpt of the remarks is available below:

“I think the goal Putin has here, it’s not just about Ukraine. It’s about completely reorganizing the post-Cold War, post-Soviet era order in Europe. And it’s not just about Ukraine. And in that context, that’s why he wants to weaken and divide and perhaps even force NATO to fall apart. In fact, he’s questioned why we even need a NATO anymore since there is no more Soviet Union. As part of furthering that goal, he’s openly said that they believe need to establish a sphere of influence, and not just throughout the former Soviet space, but also in former Warsaw Pact-type countries.

“This whole talk about protecting Russian speakers, this is just an excuse that he puts out there as a justification before the international community from moving forward. But ultimately their goal, their ultimate goal, is to carve out, to reorder the post-Soviet order in the region, and to carve out for Russia a strategic space for themselves of influence. And so, in light of that, why should we have any hope that these ceasefires are actually going to hold, given we know what his ultimate goal is?

“Ultimately his goal, unquestionably, is to completely rearrange the order in this area and carve out for Russia a sphere of influence. So how is it even realistic, knowing that about him, to think that he is ever going to allow stabilization to return to Ukraine and that he is ever going to return back to their borders, given we know what their goal is.

“He’s a criminal and a thug, but he’s also a very determined one, who has shown the willingness to act out in furtherance of a strategic goal. So why should I feel optimistic that there is any chance of that happening, unless the cost-benefit analysis changes for him?”