Former NATO leader urges US not to withhold Ukraine aid: Putin ‘will not stop’

Former NATO commander James Stavridis urged the Biden administration and lawmakers not to withhold aid from Ukraine in its war with Russia.

In an interview with host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable,” Stavridis said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal is to “overrun” Ukraine, and he “not stop” as long as he is given the opportunity to conquer it.

“The question is: Where are we today?” he said in the interview that aired Sunday. “We were at a stalemate until U.S. aid started to run out, and as a result… the Russians are now starting to inch forward, and that’s not gonna get better unless the U.S. provides this $60 billion additional amount of aid.”

He was likely referring to a Senate-passed national security funding package that has $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. However, the legislation has largely been dormant, as Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has refused to bring it to the floor without concessions, including provisions included for security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Now, John, I know that sounds like a lot of money, but in the context of the U.S. defense budget, which is about $900 billion, $60 billion is not a huge amount,” Stavridis said.

The former NATO chief said that if more aid is not given to Ukraine, Putin “has a reasonable shot at taking more territory” and he compared the situation watching “malevolent” Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s Germany “push across Europe.”

His comments come after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Wednesday that “starving” Ukraine of military support is “strategic and moral malpractice.”

“Starving Ukraine of needed capabilities wasn’t a smart way for the Biden administration to avoid escalation, and neither is it a political master stroke by some of the administration’s Republican opponents,” he said on the Senate floor. “It is strategic and moral malpractice. It risks condemning Ukraine and undermining our own national interest.”

Multiple Hollywood stars, including Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand and Mark Hamill, have also called on Congress to act on more U.S. support for Ukraine.

“[W]e are letting the Ukrainians down,” they wrote in an op-ed published in CNN earlier this week piece. “It has been more than 470 days since Congress passed legislation to support Ukraine. That is most of the time since Russia invaded in February 2022.”

The piece was also signed by comedian Kate McKinnon, film director J.J. Abrams and novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.

Despite his pushback to the Senate-backed bill, Johnson has vowed to move a bill forward that provides additional resources to Ukraine.

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