Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was eager to criticize Putin when asked what he thought of the Russian leader.
DeSantis called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" and said he needs to be "held accountable" for his heinous invasion of Ukraine.
Adopting a more assertive tone than his comments last week that seemed to downplay the year-long war as a "territorial dispute," DeSantis now says Russia was wrong to invade Ukraine and occupy Crimea in 2014. He also said Russia wouldn't win the war.
The Russian tyrant has also come under DeSantis' sharpest criticism yet, describing Putin as a loser who is "basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons."
The Wrath of GOP
DeSantis seems to be breaking rank from a clear and strong praise GOP has for Putin and the way he does business. Donald Trump has often been heard praising Mr. Putin, calling him “strong,” “savvy,” and “genius."
Numerous senior Republicans, like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio, sharply criticized his claim that it is not in America's "vital national interests" to become "further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia."
Should Putin stand trial?
Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest order for Putin for orchestrating the abduction of Ukrainian children.
The US refuses to recognize the ICC because it thinks it would be unlawful to let US citizens stand prosecution for crimes committed on US soil.
"I think he is a war criminal," DeSantis said. "This ICC… we have not done that in the US because we're concerned about our soldiers or people being brought under it. So, I don't know about that route, but I think he should be held accountable."
DeSantis is confident that Ukraine will win the conflict in the end.
DeSantis, though, avoided saying whether he had changed his mind about lending Ukraine additional cutting-edge weapons, such as F16s.
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