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Pence warns that Putin will attack a NATO nation if he overruns Ukraine


By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) — Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday warned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to “overrun” Ukraine, he would then attack a NATO nation, forcing the US to become directly involved.

“I have no doubt in my mind having met Vladimir Putin that if Putin were allowed to overrun Ukraine, it would not be long before he crossed the border of a NATO country where our men and women in uniform would be required to fight,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on “The Lead.”

Pence’s comments come as the House fights over whether to advance a foreign aid package that would provide funding for Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has been facing significant pressure from GOP hardliners, has said he will stick with his plan to put the series of foreign aid bills on the floor.

Pence commended Johnson for proceeding with the foreign aid bills despite the potential for right-wing members of their party to attempt to oust Johnson over it.

“And I think what the American people will witness here is nothing short of moral courage here. Speaker Mike Johnson has decided to do what he believes is right and trust the American people with the outcome in this moment. And I commend him for that,” Pence said.

Speaking Thursday at a Brussels Forum session in Belgium, Pence had warned that if Putin succeeds in invading Ukraine, “it would not be very long before he crossed a border that our men and women would have to go and fight under Article 5.”

Article 5 is the principle that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all members.

Pence also cautioned that a Russian victory “would set into motion a domino effect that would embolden authoritarian regimes,” suggesting that China would then move toward invading Taiwan.

In his interview with Tapper, the former vice president argued that “this is a real moment of testing for the United States, and we need to meet this moment,” as he called on Congress to approve US aid to Ukraine during this “dire” time.

“Now’s a moment where the United States of America needs to square our shoulders. We need to recognize we are the leader of the free world. And we need to step into this moment, send a deafening message – not just to Russia and Vladimir Putin, Jake – but also renew our support to our cherished ally Israel, support Taiwan and also send a very clear message to the mullahs in Tehran, and frankly to President Xi in Beijing, that America is going to stand firm for freedom,” he said.

As a candidate for president, Pence visited Ukraine last year and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He remained steadfast in his support for Ukraine while other GOP candidates, including his former boss Donald Trump, questioned the amount of US aid. Trump, now the presumptive GOP nominee, has also said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member country that doesn’t meet spending guidelines on defense. Pence dropped out of the 2024 race in October.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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