Washington Examiner

Mark Kelly rebukes DeSantis on Ukraine, says it is ‘unfortunate that they made this political’

Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) criticized Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) description of the violent conflict in Ukraine as a mere “territorial dispute” and questioned the governor’s judgement as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

“I was shocked. I think it’s stunning for the Florida governor who’s running for president to say this. I mean, what is he saying it for — to get votes,” Kelly said on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. “What happened to Ronald Reagan’s peace through strength?”


Although DeSantis has not yet declared his presidency bid, his consistent top ranking among Republicans after former President Donald Trump and his recent survey on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, which included Ukraine-related questions, have fueled speculations of his potential candidacy.

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness with our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis told Carlson.

His remarks drew broad criticism, including from Republican politicians such as John Thune (SD), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Marco Rubio (FL) who disagreed with his views on Ukraine.

Kelly, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed his concern and emphasized the significance of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that could affect the country’s national security.

“We need to show Vladimir Putin that it’s unacceptable for him to invade a neighbor. This is in our national security interests for him to lose,” Kelly argued. “If he’s able to take Ukraine and win a war in Ukraine, who’s going to be next? It’s going to be one of our NATO allies. And then we’re going to be putting U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, in harm’s way.”

While some Republicans, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), expressed hesitation over aid for Ukraine, a recent Gallup poll showed that a majority of Republicans see Russia’s military power as a “critical threat to the U.S.” Kelly also mentioned that a majority of his Senate colleagues back Ukraine.

“I think it’s unfortunate that they made this political, and it’s about an election,” Kelly said. “Let me just say in the United States Senate, the Republicans in the Senate and Democrats, we’re pretty much on the same page on this.”


Last Friday, The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the kidnapping of children in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed the allegations as the ICC is not recognized by Russia.

“Putin is a war criminal, committing crimes against humanity. Intentionally targeting and killing women and children,” Kelly added to host Jake Tapper. “We haven’t seen this in our lifetimes, Jake. And we can’t allow them to be successful.”

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