Rubio: Putin won't stop with 'two little, small areas'

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) arrives to the Senate Chamber following a nomination vote for Robert Califf to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) arrives to the Senate Chamber following a nomination vote for Robert Califf to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could launch a broader attack on Ukraine after the Russian leader recognized two separatist regions of Ukraine as independent this week.

"He's not going to stop with these two little, small areas near his border," Rubio, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday.

"And you don't need 200,000 troops with all that armor and airpower and sea power to simply occupy two areas where you've already had a strong separatist presence for a long time," the senator added.

"It's not just the areas that they're controlling. It's areas that Ukraine controls or Kyiv controls, you know, the Ukrainian government. And they claim those, and they are going to move on those," Rubio said.

The senator asserted that "if Kyiv doesn't give it up, Putin is going to say, well, this violates our mutual defense agreement and they're going to go to war against Kyiv in a broader assault."

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that he would not give up his country's land amid escalating tensions with Russia.

These remarks came shortly after Putin recognized the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, regions of eastern Ukraine, as independent on Monday.

Putin also said that he would send "peacekeepers" to those regions, a decision that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield referred to as "nonsense" during an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday night.

But the U.S. has warned that tensions could escalate further at any time, and a top Biden administration adviser referred to Moscow's Tuesday deployment of troops into Ukraine as an invasion.