US presidential hopeful warns of ‘post-Zelensky warlord’ in Ukraine
Continued US military aid for Ukraine risks setting the stage for a 'post-Zelensky warlord' and only pushes Russia and China closer together, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told a debate in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Asked about the comments by state-run Voice of America, Ramaswamy added that sending more money to Kiev “does not advance American interests” and that the job of the president is to look out for America first.
“You mark my words, the way this war ends right now, without the US actually stepping in and saying we’re not going to fund any more of it, is going to be some post-Zelensky warlord takes over with a couple hundred billion dollars of American military equipment, just like what happened after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. And you see how far that got,” the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur added.
Ramaswamy also said his plan to end the conflict “will actually be probably better for Ukraine. At least it comes out with its sovereignty intact, which is not the plan they’re on right now.”
If a recent CNN poll is to be believed, 71% of Republicans are against sending more money to the government in Kiev, while 59% say the US has done enough for Ukraine already.
“I think that this is disastrous, that we are protecting against an invasion across somebody else's border, when we should use those same military resources to prevent... the invasion of our own southern border here,” Ramaswamy said during the debate.
He also argued that the US support for Kiev is “driving Russia further into China’s hands” and accused some of his rivals of putting Ukraine ahead of the US.
“I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on the stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kiev – to their pope, [President Vladimir] Zelensky – without doing the same thing for people in Maui or the South Side of Chicago,” Ramaswamy said.
This provoked angry replies from former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former vice president Mike Pence – both of whom have recently visited Ukraine – as well as Nikki Haley, who called Ukraine “the front line of defense” for the US and accused Ramaswamy of having no foreign policy experience.
Ramaswamy is currently ranked third in the GOP primary polls, behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 13.8% but ahead of Pence (4.1%), Haley (3.1%) and Christie (2.9%).
Former president Donald Trump has said he would end the conflict “in 24 hours” and condemned the Biden administration’s bankrolling of the Ukrainian government. Trump is the absolute front-runner for the party nomination, with 56% support. He did not attend Wednesday’s debate, choosing to give an interview to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.