Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., accused the Biden administration of goading Russian President Vladimir Putin into invading Ukraine.
In a Senate hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Paul said Putin's invasion might have been caused by U.S. support of Ukraine's potential bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Paul added the administration should not have publicly supported Ukraine's bid in September of last year, stating "there could have been voices before this invasion instead of agitating for something that we knew our adversary absolutely hated and said was a red line, as recently as last September, before you signed the agreement once again agitating for NATO. Russia said that it was a red line. Now, there is no justification for the invasion – I'm not saying that – but there are reasons for the invasion."
Blinken answered his "judgment is different," and that other countries that Russia has attacked in recent years, such as Georgia, or countries where Russia has left forces, such as Transnistria, Moldova, and then repeatedly Ukraine, were not part of NATO either.
"It has not attacked NATO countries for probably a very good reason," Blinken said.
Paul then suggested, "you could also argue the countries they have attacked were part of Russia." He then corrected himself, saying "part of the Soviet Union."
"I firmly disagree with that proposition. It is the fundamental right of these countries to decide their own future and their own destiny," Blinken responded, adding, even though these countries were part of the Soviet Union before its collapse, it does not give Russia the right to attack them.
Blinken added, "it is abundantly clear in President Putin's own words that this was never about Ukraine, being potentially part of NATO. And it was always about his belief that Ukraine does not deserve to be a sovereign, independent country that it must be reassumed into Russia in one form or another."
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