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House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., joined “Sunday Morning Futures” from Poland where he spoke with refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, noting the “atrocities” in the country amid the Russian invasion and the “sheer strength of the Ukrainian people.”
In the exclusive interview, the GOP leader blasted President Biden for acting “too slow” in Ukraine.
“Had Biden sent, one weaponry earlier, maybe [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would not have made the decision to enter Ukraine,” McCarthy argued on Sunday. “Had Biden said that he would sanction before they entered, maybe Putin would not have entered.”
“But now that the war was created and you have other countries willing to provide MiGs to Ukraine to defend themselves in their own air,” he continued. “[Ukraine is] not asking for American men and women to fight, all they’re asking is to have the weapons to defend themselves from an aggressor that is going in and killing women and children, innocent individuals, and there really has to be consequences for Russia’s action.”
He then stressed that what the U.S. needs to do “is supply Ukraine with the weapons they need to win this war.”
The U.S. and NATO pledged Thursday to increase support for Ukraine amid rising concerns that Russia is about to launch a large offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, but officials have remained mum on what type of weaponry they will send Kyiv.
As an organization, NATO has been refusing to send troops or weapons to Ukraine or impose a no-fly zone over it to keep the trans-Atlantic group from being drawn into a wider war with nuclear-armed Russia. However, individual NATO countries have provided some weapons to Ukraine, as well as equipment and medical supplies.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declined to say which countries were stepping up supplies or what exactly they might send to Ukraine, but said, “Rest assured, allies are providing a wide range of different weapons systems, both Soviet-era systems but also modern equipment.”
Washington has provided more than $1.7 billion in aid since the invasion began in February and more than $2.4 billion since January 2021.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that the “sickening images and accounts coming out of Bucha and other parts of Ukraine” have strengthened the West’s resolve to punish Russia and step up support for Ukraine.
Blinken said the United States is “looking across the board right now not only at what we provided, and what we continue to provide, but whether there are additional systems that could make a difference.”
McCarthy stressed on Sunday that Ukraine needed the weapons “beforehand and this is a lesson we should learn long-term.”
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“Remember, before the sanctions, the president said just threatening the sanctions will stop Putin and then once Putin enters Ukraine, then the president says sanctions will take a long time to work,” he told Bartiromo.
President Biden suggested late last month that sanctions were not meant to deter the actions of Putin, telling reporters now that “sanctions never deter.”
“Sir, deterrence didn’t work. What makes you think Vladimir Putin will alter course based on the action you’ve taken today,” Biden was asked by CBS reporter Christina Ruffini during a press conference at a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium.
“Let’s get something straight. You remember if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that, in fact, the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter,” Biden responded.
Biden’s remarks came after weeks of messaging from key Biden administration officials – including Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken – who claimed the sanctions placed on Russia were meant to deter the actions of Putin.
On Sunday, McCarthy stressed that “the number one thing that works is a country able to defend themselves.” He then argued that the U.S. should “look to the future” and learn how America can “make sure that we do not make this mistake again.”
McCarthy also argued that the Biden administration “should be supplying Taiwan with weapons to defend themselves so China does not get the idea to enter Taiwan.”
“This is the lesson that has to be learned,” McCarthy, who is leading a congressional delegation to Eastern Europe, stressed.
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“Anyone that can see the refugees that are here, the millions of refugees from old to young, sleeping on floors with Poland opening up their homes and others, they don’t want to leave Ukraine. They want to defend Ukraine,” he continued, speaking from Warsaw.
“They did nothing wrong. And Putin entered and is now killing innocent women and children in an atrocity that we have not seen for decades, since World War II.”
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“And there really has to be consequences for the actions that Russia has taken in this situation, and the world should unite around that,” he stressed.
European Union member nations like Poland and Romania, the two neighboring countries to Ukraine, have received the most refugees. Of the more than 4 million refugees that have fled Ukraine, over 2.4 million have crossed into Poland. While many have traveled onward throughout Europe, many refugees have stayed in Poland, which is offering free temporary accommodation, medical care, education and some social benefits.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, Kyle Morris and The Associated Press contributed to this report.