Sen. Marco Rubio said he was “encouraged” by warnings issued by Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Kerry said Russia will lose trade and investment if President Vladimir Putin doesn’t withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine.
But Rubio, a potential contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said that “as we look forward to our future relationship with Russia, it’s important to learn from the errors of the last few years” of President Barack Obama’s Russia policy.
The Florida Republican said Putin’s regime is “increasingly behaving like an enemy of international peace” and said that Obama has failed to understand Russian goals under Putin. “They’re not interested in building an international norm that nations conduct themselves under… They’re interested in re-constituting Russian power and Russian prestige, often at the expense of U.S. national interests.”
In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rubio called Putin’s government “a government of liars” and said “it’s very difficult to enter an understanding with them on anything when they are willing to lie and cover things up….”
But he ruled out any use of U.S. military force to stop or turn back the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“If you’re asking me whether the U.S. should be taking military strikes against Russian troops in Ukraine or in Crimea, I would argue to you that I don’t think anyone is arguing for that,” Rubio told NBC’s David Gregory.
Rubio said the Obama administration should “strengthen the interim government in Kiev” and should shore up alliances with Poland and other Eastern European nations, for instance, by reviving a missile defense accord that President George W. Bush started with Poland.