Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Newsmax on Tuesday that there is a ''reasonable chance'' that Russia will not invade Ukraine.
''I still think that there is a reasonable chance they won't [invade],'' Paul said on ''Spicer & Co.'' ''Nobody knows the future rather than Putin, probably, but I still think there is a reasonable chance they won't invade.''
Paul reacted to comments made by President Joe Biden earlier in the day as he provided an update on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Biden said that Russia is claiming to have withdrawn some of its estimated 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine, but the U.S. has not been able to confirm the troop movements.
''The Russian defense minister reported today that some military units are leaving their positions near Ukraine,'' Biden said. ''That would be good, but we have not yet verified that.''
Despite the report, Biden said Russian troops remain in a ''very threatening position.''
Biden said his administration has been engaged in ''nonstop diplomacy'' to try to stem the threat of an invasion of Ukraine, and said he spoke directly to Putin over the weekend.
While pursuing diplomacy, Biden said the United States is ready to impose severe sanctions and will stand with NATO allies should Russia move into Ukraine.
Paul said that diplomacy needs to have a carrot as well as a stick to work in a situation like this and said that imposing sanctions before Russia moved would do little to change what Putin plans to do.
''I think there has to be both stick and carrot,'' Paul said. ''The stick is potential sanctions. If you put on sanctions now, when will you remove them when they don't attack? Well, they haven't attacked yet, so it has to be a threat of what we do if you do something. If you put on the sanctions in advance, there's no sort of endpoint for removing the sanctions.''
Paul also said that because there is so much interdependence on energy between Russia and European nations, they may have more leverage against Putin.
''Ultimately the real leverage here is with Germany and with Europe,'' Paul said, ''They by 30% to 40% of their natural gas from Russia. We buy very little, so it's not as if we can threaten not to buy their natural gas or to put sanctions on. I don't think it will affect their behavior. If Germany were to say that, I think it does.''
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