‘Why Do We Give a Damn?’ GOP Lawmaker Says He’d Be Ok With Reunification of East Ukraine With Russia
13:55 GMT 16.12.2021 (Updated: 14:03 GMT 16.12.2021)
Tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine have been ratcheted up to unprecedented levels in recent months amid claims by the US and its allies that Moscow is “preparing to invade” its neighbour. Russia has dismissed the allegations, and accused Washington and NATO of destabilizing the situation in the Eastern European country.
The US establishment is more concerned about the situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine than what’s happening on the southern US border with Mexico, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz has suggested.
“Only in the beltway of Washington, DC do people seem to care more about the border between Russia and Ukraine than the border between the United States and Mexico. What they’re talking about – massive movements of troops, is precisely the provocation that [Vladimir] Putin is looking for as a pretext to engage in military action,” Gaetz said, speaking to former Trump White House aide Steve Bannon on Real America’s Voice, a conservative news outlet.
“And by the way, if he does, why do we give a damn? If Vladimir Putin goes and gets a bunch of ethnic Russians who speak Russian in the eastern Ukraine to reunite with Russia, you’re telling me that that is some like cataclysmic critical event in the lives of Americans? It isn’t,” the Florida congressman suggested.
Gaetz went on to attack the Biden administration over its recent agreement with Berlin not to sanction Nord Stream 2.
“If we were so darn worried about [Ukraine], we should not have allowed Nord Stream 2 to exist, because that is what has given Russia the ability to now meet the European energy markets, and to seek to limit Ukraine’s ability to do that as a competitor,” he argued.
The GOP congressman suggested that it should be up to the Europeans to “care” about Ukraine, and bashed NATO as an ineffective alliance.
“Europe should go solve this problem, not the United States. And to sit there and pound your chests about NATO? Give me a break – NATO is a joke. As long as Turkey is in NATO and considered a NATO ally, I am not looking at NATO as a serious organization,” Gaetz said.
21 July 2021, 20:50 GMT
“There’s two-and-a-half combat divisions in all of NATO, I think it is,” Bannon chimed in. “They don’t put any money into their defense…We just got out of 20 years, because of your fight, we just got out of 20 years in Afghanistan, after 10-12 years in Iraq, $9 trillion, 10-12,000 dead, 50,000 combat injuries, suicides every day, PTSD. We’re out of that just over 90 days and in this town I can’t tell you, they are so determined to go back in,” the former Trump advisor said.
Gaetz suggested that the US threat of new sanctions against Russia was “a total joke,” given the size of the Russian sovereign wealth fund. “And by the way, it ain’t like the Russians are holding a whole lot of US dollars anyway at this point. My suspicion is, we’ll do this dance with Putin and ultimately Biden’s weakness will be on full display,” the congressman concluded.
Gaetz’ comments come amid growing tensions between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, with Western officials and media claiming for weeks on end that Moscow has amassed troops on the border with its neighbour and is preparing for invasion. The Kremlin, the Foreign Ministry and the Russian military have each denied the claims as baseless, and accused the US and its allies of inflaming the situation by providing Kiev with weapons and standing idly by as the Ukrainian government prepares for a possible push to resolve the civil conflict in the country’s east by force.
12 December 2021, 17:27 GMT
On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the United States has an “obsession” with the alleged threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, telling Sputnik that there were no grounds for such claims.