DeSantis stirred controversy last week for describing the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute,” drawing fierce backlash from a chorus of Republicans, including Graham. He recently contended that his remarks were “mischaracterized,” that the Russian invasion is “wrong,” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal.”
“Governor @RonDeSantisFL description of Putin being a thug and a war criminal is spot on. What do you call a national leader who uses their army to kidnap children of a neighboring state? A War Criminal,” Graham tweeted.
The International Criminal Court recently issued an arrest warrant for Putin over the alleged “unlawful deportation of population (children)” and transfer from Ukraine into Russia.
Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson broadcasted responses from likely 2024 presidential aspirants about where they stand on Ukraine. DeSantis conveyed that “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia” would not be in America’s national interest.
During a previewed interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis affirmed that he harbors contempt for Putin and the war.
“What I’m referring to is where the fighting is going on now, which is that eastern border region Donbas, and then Crimea, and you have a situation where Russia has had that,” DeSantis said. “I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there. But the idea that I think somehow Russia was justified — that’s nonsense.”
Ukraine has divided Republicans, with some, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), raising concerns about the extent of foreign aid to the war-torn nation. Graham has fiercely shot back at Republicans who waver on support for Ukraine.
“Those who suggest that Putin is not a war criminal are parroting Russian propaganda and clearly are not understanding the conduct of the Russian invaders in Ukraine. The evidence is overwhelming,” Graham added.