U.S. Rep. Crawford says Putin solely to blame, calls for Europe to step up defense of Ukraine
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said Vladimir Putin is solely to blame for the invasion of Ukraine, and the First District Congressman said Europe must take a more active role in defending its continent from the Russian threat.
Crawford, who sits on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, discussed his December trip to Ukraine, where he visited with a number of high-ranking elected and military leaders.
“The one thing that I think sort of resonated with me was they are fiercely nationalistic. That is to say they’re very proud of Ukraine, they’re proud to be Ukrainians,” he said. “There is a very high degree of enmity between Ukraine and Russia. I want to be careful how I say this, but really they hate Russia. And even though there are sort of some ethnic Russians over in the Donbas region of Ukraine, by and large the sentiment is very anti-Russian. They are, on the other hand, quite pro-American.”
Crawford said Ukraine still needs more sophisticated weaponry to combat the Russian invasion, but he also said “we need for our allies in Europe to step up.”
“Quite frankly, I don’t even think they’ve been supportive enough rhetorically, but they certainly need to step it up materially,” Crawford said. “We gave every signal and every opportunity was given to the European community to step up and join the effort more than just rhetorically. And now here we are with Ukraine effectively occupied by Russia and a state of war exists, and now what is Germany going to do and what is France going to do?”
When asked about previous and current administrative policies, Crawford, who served in the U.S. Army, said the blame for the Ukraine situation falls squarely on the shoulders of Russian President Putin.
“Let’s be clear about this too. This is not anyone’s fault but Putin. So I’m not placing blame on this action on any leader. Certainly, I’m not blaming Biden. Biden didn’t do this. This is Putin’s decision to do this. So this is Putin’s fault. As we alluded to early, I do think he’s unstable. I think he’s a madman, has been for a long time and has masked it, but it’s clear now. So let’s lay the blame where it goes: at Putin’s feet. He’s responsible for this,” Crawford said.
Crawford supports the harsh sanctions already imposed on Russia, but is calling for heavier penalties. He said cyberwarfare is already happening, so he is not opposed to ratcheting up activity on this front.
He said he expects the U.S. to provide humanitarian relief to Europe as Ukrainians flee the country. Crawford also expects the U.S. will be asked to provide more military support to neighbors of Ukraine should Russia hold its position after the invasion.
“We also need to continue to make sure that our European allies are well-equipped and well-prepared and have the moral resolve to actually help defend their European neighbor. It can’t just be the United States doing everything all the time and I think that we’re going to have to build some consensus in that regard,” he said.
You can watch Rep. Crawford’s full interview in the video below.