Putin’s ‘desperate’ visit to Mariupol was his ‘last battle’, governor says
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “desperate” visit to Mariupol was his “last stand” amid his rocky invasion of Ukraine, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Sunday.
Putin traveled to Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city that suffered massive damage during fighting in the Russian-Ukrainian war, on Saturday, just a day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes committed by the Russian military in Ukraine. His visit drew condemnation from Ukraine and its allies.
Putin’s visit comes more than a year after he launched his “special military operation” on the Eastern European country, aiming for a quick victory. However, Ukraine’s spirited defense effort, backed by Western military aid, has prevented Moscow from making substantial progress despite the vast size of its army, with Putin facing heightened scrutiny from the floundering invasion.
Sununu, a moderate Republican who has been nominated as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, joined in the criticism of the Russian leader during an appearance on CNN. State of the Union on Sunday.
The Republican governor described the visit as an attempt to boost the morale of Putin’s troops and “strengthen the propaganda machine”, adding that the visit signals Putin’s “desperation to keep the troops together”.
“He knows he has to somehow boost the morale of the remaining troops in any way he can. The Russian army has been absolutely decimated. It’s been demoralized. They’re leaving the lines left and right. right. It’s Putin’s, if you will, last bastion,” Sununu said.
Sununu breaks with other Republicans on Ukraine
Sununu has sought to differentiate himself from other Republicans on the issue of Ukraine, which has divided the GOP. While many other mainstream conservatives have voiced support for U.S. military aid to the war-torn country, some Trump-aligned Republicans have said the U.S. shouldn’t be so embroiled in the conflict.
Former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered the top contenders for the 2024 presidential race, recently told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that providing aid to Ukraine is not “vital” to US national interests, with DeSantis, who has yet to announce his intention to run for president, describing the war as a “territorial dispute”.
Sununu criticized the remarks in an opinion piece for The Washington Post SATURDAY.
“Simply opposing aid to Ukraine because President Biden supports it is not a viable foreign policy,” the governor wrote. “Abandoning Ukraine would trigger a chain of negative events for American interests at home and abroad.”
He doubled down on his support for Ukraine during his CNN interview on Sunday.
“I have been very clear and many others have been very clear that we have to support Ukraine’s game. Russia is not America’s friend,” he said. declared. “So this is the United States. We support freedom. We don’t capitulate, we don’t back down, we support countries, we support our allies, we support coalitions.”
Newsweek contacted Sununu’s press office for comment via email.