Portman Discounts Fear That US Troops Will Fight in Ukraine

Portman Discounts Fear That US Troops Will Fight in Ukraine rob portman sits on a dias and speaks. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a Senat Finance Committee hearing in 2021. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 30 January 2022 12:19 PM

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Sunday stressed the United States isn’t aiming to commit troops to fighting in Ukraine if Russia invades — and Ukraine isn’t asking for that intervention.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Portman said the nation has no interest in fighting amid increasing tension ahead of a threatened Russian invasion.

“I think we have to be sure we're understanding what's going on here,” Portman said. “The Ukrainians are not asking for American troops to come to Ukraine. I've gotten a number of phone calls from these cable news shows saying, you know, we've got to keep our troops out of there. They're not asking for our troops, nor is anybody talking about that.”

“We are talking about strengthening the countries around the region who are looking for more help, NATO countries like the Baltics, like Poland,” he added.

“This is about the fight for freedom,” he said. “This is a country that has decided that they want to be like us. They want to be a democracy. They want to respect the rule of law. They want to have a free enterprise system that's strong and vibrant.

According to Portman, Russia's President Vladimir Putin sees Ukraine as “falling to the West.”

“I think people ought to believe that sovereignty matters and the dignity of the Ukrainian people matters, and this is what they want,” he asserted. “So their territorial integrity is at risk right now, and it's appropriate that the free world stand by them.”

Portman also urged bipartisan agreement on support for Ukraine and the “cause for freedom.” “We have been unified as Republicans and Democrats in standing up to what Russia has done,” he said.

“We are working on a package which include sanctions, which includes military assistance, which would include fighting the cyberattacks that Russia continues to use on Ukraine, and also trying to stabilize the government,” he added. “This is where the cause of freedom is being waged, and we need to stand up as Democrats and Republicans.”

Portman said the economy in Ukraine “is pretty strong right now.”

“We're together,” he said of the United States and Ukraine. “That's what's important. As to Russia and what Russia is doing, the Ukrainians and the Americans are absolutely together. But so are so many other allies. Really the entire free world.”

Now, Portman declared, it’s up to Germany to say publicly it will cut off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine — even as he criticized that nation’s lack of approving arms sales to Ukraine.

“Apparently they're saying that privately,” he said of pausing the pipeline.

“They should say it publicly. I'm also, as you know, a little disappointed in their inability to approve arms sales. … These are artillery weapons that the Ukrainians need badly, yet Germany is not approving it. That makes no sense to me, and I've made it very clear in conversations with the Germans and others. My hope is that Germany will step up even more. But they're with us. They said they would cut off Nordstrom 2 pipeline should there be an invasion of any type, and I certainly hope that's true.”

Original Article