Russia will likely move beyond the eastern Ukraine areas it has already entered to expand its presence because it also claims the areas that Kyiv controls, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will use Ukraine's resistance to justify a wider invasion, Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday.
"When Kyiv fights back, that's going to trigger the mutual defense agreement that Putin signed yesterday with this fake new country, and he’s going to move in on those areas as well," the Florida Republican said on "CBS Mornings." "I think he takes basically the entire east of the country and that includes, I think, he takes Kyiv the, capital. He'll try anyway."
Rubio said he does think sanctions are needed because Putin must pay a price for his actions or he'll do more. However, he also doesn't think sanctions will stop him from carrying out his plans, as they are from the old Soviet Union's playbook, and he thinks Russia is posing a threat to NATO members.
"If you listen to that speech yesterday, the argument he used for why invading Ukraine, the old Soviet rules, you could make that argument about any of the Baltic states who are all, who are now all, members of NATO," the senator said. "Many of those Baltic States were part of the old Russian Empire even longer than Ukraine. You could use the same argument to take those. So he's not going to stop with Ukraine, and he must pay a big price for it."
Rubio also called for a return to U.S. domestic energy independence, as it is a "matter of national security."
"This disruption is going to increase oil prices," said Rubio. "We're going to feel it at the pump here in America, and that will increase the prices on everything."
Ukraine's agricultural and other production capabilities will also suffer from an invasion, and that will affect the world, Rubio said.
Rubio spoke of the "90% of the neon gas used to make semiconductors in America, something there's a shortage of already," that comes from Ukraine. "If that's disrupted or cut off, we're going to struggle. Remember back in 2014, when that invasion happened? It increased the prices of semiconductors. You can see now where that's playing out in our economy."
Overall, the Ukraine tension marks a "very tense and dangerous moment," Rubio also said.
"You have NATO fully mobilized, and you have the largest land army since World War II amassed by the Russians," he said. "We have to respond strongly, but we also have to be smart at the same time and avoid unnecessary and needless escalation, because that would become catastrophic."
However, Rubio said the United States should not enter into military conflict with Russia.
"These are the world's two largest nuclear powers and that's one of the things, even as we are firm in our response, we have to try everything possible to avoid, because it can escalate very quickly," he said. "We are not the world's policeman. We're not sending troops into Ukraine, but our No. 1 priority is our national interest."
Rubio, also interviewed on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," commented that Putin is an expert observer of American politics, and while former President Donald Trump wasn't a conventional president, Putin does know how to deal with President Joe Biden.
"He's been dealing with presidents like that that operate within the confines of orthodoxy for a long time, and he knows exactly how they are going to react," said Rubio. "People forget our presidents come and go, [but] Putin's been there pretty consistently for almost over 20 years. I don't think he is thinking about or worrying about Joe Biden in the next moves he makes. He knew this is exactly how [the Biden administration] would react."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.