On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Mark Warner said that after invading Ukraine, Russia’s military is “not what it was built up to be,” implying that the Russian invasion is going poorly, performance-wise.
The commentary is notable in that, if true, it weakens the case for American politicians’ demands that Ukraine needs immediate, massive military assistance.
Warner made his remarks during an interview on CNN’s “Situation Room.”
Democrat @MarkWarner reacts to President Joe Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” and tells CNN’s @wolfblitzer that Putin has become “more and more isolated.” pic.twitter.com/U7504U7n4J
— CNN (@CNN) March 16, 2022
Sen. Warner: ‘Clearly, at every turn, the Russian military is not what it was built up to be’
CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Warner, “You and most of your colleagues, I’m sure, think Putin is a war criminal for what he’s done in the past few weeks in Ukraine. I know you’ve done a briefing. House chairman Adam Schiff came out and dismissed rumors there’s any serious movement on a potential diplomatic move between Ukraine and Russia. What is your understanding?”
Warner replied, “On that diplomatic deal, I didn’t get a chance to fully press that. I saw the report. I think this war is going to go on. I would pray for a diplomatic solution, but in many ways, that would be left up to the Ukrainian leadership and the Ukrainian people.”
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There have been a few attempts at negotiating a cease-fire between the two sides, though none have yet been successful.
Warner then questioned the strength of Russia’s military.
“Clearly, at every turn, the Russian military is not what it was built up to be,” the senator said. “Their execution, frankly, in terms of not even taking out the Ukrainian air command systems, the fact that over half of the Ukrainian air force and more is still up and operating is, frankly, malpractice on the part of the Russian military planners.”
Warner’s comments are very curious. If Russia has not yet even attained air supremacy over Ukraine, it begs the question of why so many – including Ukrainian President Zelensky – have demanded a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over the country.
CNN White House correspondent @mj_lee reports on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s moving message to Congress and President Biden telling reporters that Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal.” pic.twitter.com/cpeQ8FQ5BM
— CNN (@CNN) March 16, 2022
Warner Supports Aid To Ukraine
Warner added, “I do think it’s important we continue to send them additional assistance into literally tens of thousands of antitank tools, tremendous increase in the number of Stingers, and I applaud the administration while not getting into the actual systems, but applaud them saying we will get longer range anti-aircraft tools to Ukrainians where they could gain some control over their skies if they have those longer-range anti-aircraft tools.”
“So I think the Ukrainians are doing quite well, but we need to continue to rush arms and equipment and not just us, but our European allies and others as well,” he finished.
Warner appears to be in line with the American people on that note. A poll conducted by Pew shows high support for various American actions against Russia.
In fact, over a third of Americans would even favor direct military action, even if its risks nuclear war.