Florida Governor Ron DeSantis questions the importance of the Ukraine conflict to the United States and criticizes the extent of economic and military support provided to Kyiv, which risks complicating the task of the administration of the president Joe Biden.
The politician’s criticisms, expressed in a questionnaire submitted by Fox News, are likely to encourage the isolationist camp within the Republican Party, which may seek to block the process when the government must return to Congress to secure new funds for the war against Russia.
Mr. DeSantis, who positions himself as Donald Trump’s main opponent in the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 election, said in particular that it was not in the interest of the United States “to embed even more of a territorial dispute” between Moscow and Kyiv.
“The Biden administration’s policy of handing out a ‘blank check’ to fund the conflict ‘as long as it takes’ without defined goals or accountability mechanisms distracts us from the country’s most important issues,” he said. he noted, citing in particular border management, energy security and tensions with China.
Mr. DeSantis also specified that it was necessary to avoid any measure likely to allow Ukraine to strike far beyond its borders and to exclude as such the sending of fighter planes or long-range missiles.
“Such decisions would risk dragging the United States directly into the conflict and bring us closer to a high-intensity war between two nuclear powers,” he warned.
Scott Anderson, a governance expert with the Brookings Institution, notes that Ron DeSantis’ position echoes without copying that of Donald Trump, who is calling for a speedy negotiated settlement of the dispute.
Many influential figures in the Republican establishment, particularly in the Senate, favor support for Ukraine and even want the United States to go further, faster.
A hard core of deputies in the House of Representatives, now with a Republican majority, is however isolationist and could win the support of other elected officials because of the positions taken by the two heavyweights of the Republican race.
The administration’s task of pushing through new budget envelopes for Ukraine is likely to become more difficult, Mr. Anderson warns.
“The risk that US aid will eventually be cut or reduced increases,” warns the researcher, who expects the government to be able to maneuver more than a year from the envelope already approved.
A recent analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies points out that the funds already approved by Congress for Ukraine could instead be exhausted as soon as June or July.
Eugene Rumer, a Russia scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Republican concerns about US indebtedness could further complicate any request for additional funding for Kyiv.
Pressure to review the US approach could intensify if the planned Ukrainian offensive in the coming months does not yield results and the conflict seems to be in a permanent stalemate, he warns.
Dominique Arel, a Ukraine specialist attached to the University of Ottawa, thinks Ron DeSantis is trying to position himself to win back some of Donald Trump’s electorate in the upcoming primary and could adopt a point longer term. view more favorable to Kyiv.
It would be surprising, however, if the influential Republican politicians supporting Ukraine in the Senate and in the important committees of the House of Representatives accepted that aid to Ukraine should be cut.
Mr. Arel believes that the real threat to Kyiv comes instead from radical Republicans elected to the House of Representatives who had managed at the beginning of the year to block for several days the appointment of the institution’s president, Kevin McCarthy.
“They could seek to use their influence on McCarthy to block a vote,” notes the researcher, who also expects the budget envelope already approved to support Ukraine to be exhausted by the summer.