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Video: Sen. Mark Warner Says He’s 67 and Remembers Hiding Under Desk During Nuclear War Drills, and Such a Future Is “Unthinkable”

"Putin is not a genius, Putin is a bully, a thug, and he needs to be constrained"

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In his “press availability” yesterday, Sen. Mark Warner had a lot to talk about. See below for video and a few key points.

  • I can’t think of a time in all my time in the Senate, when there may be a more sobering update than what I’m going to report to you today. The world order that has existed post-World War 2 for literally the last 80 years is in real time being upset by the unprovoked attack by the Russians, led by Vladimir Putin, into the independent nation, democratic nation of Ukraine.”
  • “I think the whole world has been impressed by the
    resilience of the Ukrainian people, their soldiers, their individual citizens standing up to overpowering Russian military might, the President Zelinskyy, almost in a Churchillian way rallying his people and rallying the world. Clearly, Vladimir Putin miscalculated.”
  • “We’ve seen the West – and not just the West but allies around the world – stand up in ways that 10 days in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have hoped for or predicted.”
  • Putin “joins the rogue gallery of people like Qaddafi and  Assad as being one of the only world leaders sanctioned by the rest of the world.”
  • “On the negative side or on the challenging side going forward, the Russians because they miscalculated are only now throwing in their last third of the troops that were amassed around around Ukraine. And we see images of literally 40-mile long convoys of Russian tanks and troop carriers advancing on Kyiv. We see the Russians as well starting to indiscriminately bomb population centers. The fact is, the Ukrainian military are outmatched; we need to get them additional weapons and Congress needs to act now on both humanitarian assistance and additional weapons combining with our European allies. But it would be unrealistic to think that the Ukrainians can hold out forever with these overwhelming odds posed against them, with the Russian military. But I would pose as well that even if the Russians are able to take out the Ukrainian military, we have literally hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who’ve been armed, who are clear about the fact that they will rise up in an insurgency against the Russian oppressors.”
  • “I think here in the West and in America directly we also have to be very conscious of the threat of cyber attacks from Russia...The truth is, you take a first tier nation like Russia in terms of their cyber capabilities, and they literally have hundreds if not thousands of cyber weapons. Chances are they will get into some of our networks, so the key things is our resilience can we bring our networks back up.”
  • “We’ve all been disturbed by the tenor of our partisan politics in our country. I think we’ve all read stories, you know,
    is the age of democracy past us, can western liberal ideas about transparency and free speech and democracy
    really stand in a technology-driven world? Well, I hope we all take a deep breath and realize the people of Ukraine are voting literally with their lives to say they would rather put their lives in jeopardy than live under an authoritarian rule and that they vote for democracy, they vote for free expression, they vote with the West. The fact that so many countries not only in the west but Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan…Australia…all saying we stand together as democracies, we’ve got a lot of things we can do to improve our system, but I think we need to realize our democratic, liberal-based democracy is still the best in the world.”
  • “We’re tired from the two years plus of Covid…We have all for the most part done what was right by our fellow citizens and get vaccinated and worn masks. But now, as the scientific evidence is changing  and the Covid levels are down, we need to have a return to normalcy; people will still need to wear masks if they choose to or if they’ve got pre-existing conditions, but I think we all start to need to move back to a normal economy.”
  • “On Putin’s raising his nuclear nuclear readiness, he has a lot of weapons. But the truth is, he would not be using this  kind of provocative language if he was did not feel he was losing on the ground in Ukraine and losing in the court of world opinion. This is somebody who is trying to strike fear because the Ukrainians are not rolling over with his invasion. We have to be very cautious about escalation and having a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, but we cannot walk away from our commitments to NATO, we cannot walk away from continuing to supply our Ukrainian friends with arms; they are not a NATO nation so we don’t have an Article 5 issue there, but we do with Poland, Romania, the Baltic states. And I would say to any American, and I say this as somebody who was a
    child of the Cold War, 90% of Americans knew that we could not allow the Soviet Union to spread and take out democracies. Many young people have not grown up with that threat. But the authoritarian kind of no freedom, absolute control over the economy in people’s lives, if Putin is successful in Ukraine he will not stop, he will try to remake Europe. We can stop him here or we can face a kind of Cold War mentality going forward. So I think it’s the choice of all of us to stop him in his tracks now with the the world united against him. This is a huge huge challenge and it affects all of us…I know there may be some political figures that said Putin is a genius; Putin is not a genius, Putin is a bully, a thug, and he needs to be constrainedThere’s virtually no one in the world who’s saying good things about Vladimir Putin or calling him smart or a genius other than the former president, and I’ll let people make their own judgments on that.”
  • “I would also point out that it was actually Senator Louise Lucas who first raised the issue, I believe over the weekend, that our Virginia ABC stores shouldn’t be selling Russian vodka. And I’m glad to see that the governor and others in both parties jumped on that. And I do think we need to re-examine, whether it’s VRS or state agencies doing business with Russia, we are trying to economically boycott them and cut back and make the sanctions hurt. And I think the more we can do as a state and as a community, I support governor Youngkin on that.”
  • “I say to my friends in Hampton Roads who see flooding happening on a a monthly if not weekly basis, we see reports coming out of the United Nations and other American bodies that the challenge around climate change – and we see this with severe weather events – is real. Short term, you know, particularly during this short-term crisis or things we can do they ought to be on the table. But long term, the challenge to move away [from fossil fuels] and I honestly believe that part of that moving away we ought to do more nuclear power and that offends frankly people on both sides, but it is is carbon free and a clean energy source, it has to be part of the mix.”
  • “I’m 67 years old and what I lived with through all my life, remembering having school drills where you hid under your desk in case there was a nuclear attack – not that hiding under your desk would do much – but that is a a future that is unthinkable, and is one of the reasons why NATO comes with the assurance…I believe all those those concerns about Ukraine are off though if Putin violates sovereignty of any of the…NATO nations, then we do have to step in troops full bear. But we are again in very very dangerous area here. I hope and pray that the economic harm the Russian people are feeling will put pressure on Putin. I think the fact that some of the oligarchs [are]…speaking out against Putin because it is a disaster what he is doing over the short term and long term for the Russian people, will that be enough to draw Putin back in? He’s somebody who’s been an absolute leader for 20 years somebody who’s been removed…Time will tell.
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