Mar 07 2022
Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined State of the Union to discuss the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
“[Zelenskyy] reiterated the same points he's been repeatedly making to the public. Obviously they want to get more aircraft, which I think the United States is supportive of, and countries are willing to do. There are complications that come with it. It's not as easy as handing them over. You have to fly them in and station them on the ground.
“As you saw this morning, the Russians have launched between eight to twelve rockets at an airport west of Ukraine. It's just a part of the strategy to deny [Ukraine] places to move the airplanes. One thing is to have the planes and another thing is to use them. They require munitions and you also have the issue of flying them and not being shot down. The Russian air force had a bad day yesterday, too. Neither side really has any sort of air superiority right now, which I'm for. I want everyone to understand it's not a magic solution. There are complications that come with it.”
On the mass video call with Zelenskyy:
“I think [Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova] was under the impression that no one knew that call was happening. The call had been widely reported. The specific time had been reported. There were over 300 people on it and the call details had been emailed. There was nothing secure about the call. The picture is a nondescript picture, it looks just like all the other ones you've seen. There's no risk posed. You'll always have somebody who wants their name mentioned in the press.”
On Russian tactics to bomb and damage Ukraine:
“If there's an opportunity to move civilians and innocents out of [dangerous territory,] we should be supportive of that. Mariupol is an example of how the Russians never keep their word. They are never going to allow any of this. To the extent they do allow humanitarian corridors, I worry they're doing it to set up false flags where they can attack and argue that the Ukrainians did it.
“I ask people to look at the images of what they did in Chechnya in '99 or what they did in Syria more recently. They will destroy and level entire cities. They terrorize the population into either submission or into fleeing. This is a tactic they have used. I fear they'll use it increasingly because they're having massive logistical challenges, especially in the northern and north central part of the country.”
On the global reaction to Putin’s invasion and where his reputation stands:
“The Western response leading up to this invasion is exactly what I'm pointing to [because] people are not fully understanding. Most of the countries, including the Ukrainian government, didn't believe [Putin] would invade. It made no sense to them, they thought the risk calculus for him was not good. What they don't recognize is this guy is almost 70 years old, in the back stretch [of his career,] and probably feels his legacy is not yet complete unless he can restore greater Russia which has to include Ukraine, with the county at least under his thumb, if not occupied by him.
“Yesterday he began making assertions to them losing their statehood. As a result, you see a person that's now engaged himself in a conflict that he can't win… he's either going to have a costly military victory followed by a costly occupation that he can't afford, or he's going to get caught in a long-term military quagmire [while] he's facing a second front: an economy in free fall in his own country. The combination of these two things puts us in a very dangerous place. He's going to have to do something, some [sort of] escalation [or] amplification of this crisis in order to restore strategic balance in his view with the West. I'm worried about what those things could be.”
On Vladimir Putin’s future:
“People are watching these images, seeing what’s happening there, people being murdered and suffering. It makes you angry. You want something to happen... I would say at some point I do think Putin is going to be removed from power. I think the chances of that are high, hopefully to stand trial for war crimes for what he's done…It doesn't seem like there’s anything we can do to immediately bring an end to it. It's very frustrating for people.”
On cutting off importing Russian oil and drilling for American oil:
“The fact that people believe not buying [or] having Russian oil would raise our gas prices is very concerning. That proves that Putin has the leverage and power over America to raise our gas prices any time he wants. We shouldn't allow that to continue.
“We shouldn't allow Vladimir Putin to have the power at any moment to raise gas prices on Americans by cutting us off at some point now or in the future. We should cut him off now, replace it with American oil, and have a buffer in between the time that production starts up and the time we make the cutoff. We can use our strategic reserves for that. That's what I hope we will do [and] where the administration is headed. It makes no sense whatsoever to continue to buy oil from Russia [when] they continue to use to fund this war and this murderous campaign they're undertaking.”
On the views and opinions of being involved in Ukraine & Russia:
“I think a lot of people didn't fully understand what this was all about. There are always going to be voices and interviews [given on involvement in Ukraine.] For example, there was a time when people were arguing why we are getting involved in Ukraine when all we have to do is agree they will never become part of NATO and we can avoid all that. That was never true. I made it a point to say that’s just not true.
“[The United States] is a country where people have the freedom to have any views they want. We're not Russia, not China. We don’t want to be. People have a right to have those views. We have a responsibility, those of us who believe differently and know the truth, to go out there and argue the counterpoint. That's what we've done I think quite effectively. If you look at the numbers today and how Americans feel about Ukraine, there's not a lot of space for those that argue Putin is some sort of a heroic figure. I don't see a lot of voices, other than in the far fringes, making arguments to the contrary.”