Marco Rubio: Putin's Regime 'Is a Government of Liars'

Sunday, 02 Mar 2014 01:56 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime is "a government of liars" says Sen. Marco Rubio, and as such, it's difficult to enter into any kind of understanding with the Russian leader.

"They are lying and this government is a government of liars," said the Florida Republican, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," noting that Russian government troops are showing up in the Crimea dressed in plain uniforms.

Russia, under Putin, has also broken every international treaty, said Rubio. He fell just short of calling Putin's government an enemy of the United States, but told host David Gregory that the regime is "increasingly behaving like an enemy of international peace."

Further, he pointed out that President Barack Obama does not understand Russia's goals under Putin, and it's "important to learn from the errors of the last few years."

"They're not interested in building an international norm that nations conduct themselves under," said Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Instead, Putin wants to restore "Russian power and Russian prestige, often at the expense of U.S. national interests," he said.

However, Rubio, who on Saturday issued eight steps he would like the United States to take in relation to Russia, does not want the United States to send military force to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine or in Crimea.

"I don’t think anyone is arguing for that," Rubio said. But he noted that Putin has made a "cost-benefit analysis" on whether to invade Ukraine, and "he has concluded the benefits outweigh the costs. We need to endeavor to change that analysis."

Instead, he called for the Obama administration to help strengthen Kiev's interim government while shoring up NATO alliances and reviving President George W. Bush's missile defense accord.

"I am saying that our NATO alliance needs to be reinvigorated," said Rubio, noting that the United States should be assuring Poland and other nations near Russia of the importance of the alliance. Further, he said he believes the United States should help the interim government in Kiev by "strengthening their defense capabilities."

Rubio said he agrees with Secretary of State John Kerry's call to isolate Russia through trade and other sanction. Kerry, who was also on "Meet the Press" and other talk shows Sunday to discuss the Ukrainian situation.

Kerry noted that Russia will be isolated and lose trade and investment if Putin doesn't withdraw his troops from Ukraine.

"He's going to lose on the international stage, Russia is going to lose, the Russian people are going to lose, and he's going to lose all of the glow that came out of the Olympics, his $60 billion extravaganza," Kerry told Gregory.

In addition, Kerry said that he's been speaking with foreign ministers from the G-8 and elsewhere, and "there's a unified view...that they're simply going to isolate Russia; that they're not going to engage with Russia in a normal business-as-usual manner."

Kerry called Putin's decision to order Russian troops to move into Ukraine "19th century behavior in the 21st century.

"You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests,” he said, insisting that there are other ways for the Putin regime to protect Russian-speaking people in Crimea.

Kerry pointed out that Obama, during a 90-minute call to Putin on Saturday, offered for the United States to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

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