Florida’s U.S. Senators spent part of their Sunday mornings discussing the crisis in Ukraine, in the wake of a conference call with embattled Volodymyr Zelenskyy the day before.
Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, who respectively made news for sharing a video image from the call and failing to mute a microphone during the call, both urged a robust U.S. response to the Russian invasion during television interviews even as they stressed there would be limits to American involvement.
Rubio, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, took issue with claims that he was wrong in releasing the picture of Zelenskyy during the call, noting that the Ukrainian ambassador was late in saying no pictures should be released.
“She asked that 30 minutes into the call,” Rubio groused. He added that the “widely reported” call had over 300 participants, though it is uncertain what bearing that would have on the confidential nature of the images.
“There was nothing secure about that call,” Rubio said. “There was no risk posed.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” he made similar points, saying that “maybe even ABC” itself had said the call was on and that “there was no security risk there.”
Rubio also addressed a potential assassination of Russian leader Vladimir Putin by someone in his inner circle, a move floated by Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“That’s not the official policy of the United States. No one’s talked about the U.S. doing it. I would say that at some point I do believe Putin will be removed from power,” Rubio said, stressing that it’s up to Graham to “answer for that” statement.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Rubio made the same points, stressing that he didn’t think Graham was “calling for a U.S. action in that regard.”
Any killing of Putin must happen “organically” and “internally,” the Senator stressed.
The Senator also noted that Zelensky wanted more aircraft, but said there were “complications” to that end.
“It’s not as easy as handing them over,” Rubio said on CNN, noting the Russians destroyed one potential airport in Ukraine expected to host the fighter planes.
“I’m for it. I just want everybody to understand it’s not a magic solution,” Rubio said on CNN also.
Rubio also stopped short of advocating for a “no-fly” zone on ABC’s “This Week,” noting many advocates might not understand what that entails.
“That means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky,” Rubio said. “It means World War III.”
Scott, during an appearance on the Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures” program, took a stronger position on the planes. He said Americans needed to do “everything we can” to help the Ukrainian resistance, including providing aircraft via Poland.
“Whatever it takes, whatever the United States needs to do, they need to do it today, and get those planes there, because that’s what he needs,” Scott said, adding that Ukraine needs missiles as well in addition to those “Polish planes” that Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly.
Scott stopped short of advocating a “no-fly” zone, however, describing it as “very difficult to do” and potentially “too much of an escalation.”
The Senator likened Ukraine’s situation, which is that of a country currently being invaded, to that of Israel, a nuclear power with strong ties to the U.S. and Russia.
“What Israel does, they defend themselves,” Scott said. “Zelenskyy just needs resources from us. Zelenskyy can do this on his own.”
Russians continue to bomb targets of interest, including civilian outposts, throughout the country as they take control of cities in the pursuit of taking Kyiv. Allegations of war crimes have become increasingly commonplace.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism