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Kansas Sen. Marshall says the U.S. needs to send more weapons to Ukraine, not troops

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Roger Marshall at a campaign event
Stephan Bisaha
Kansas News Service
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) recently returned from a trip to Europe that included a visit to a refugee center in Poland.

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall is calling for 100,000 NATO troops to mass on the Ukrainian and Russian borders — and, for now, stop there.

The Kansas Republican said U.S. troops should only follow as reinforcements to a bulwark to contain Russian aggression playing out in the month-long war. He said NATO forces should step ahead of U.S. units in Poland and elsewhere near the Ukrainian border.

“I will do anything I can to prevent any American bloodshed,” the senator said on KCUR’s “Up to Date” on Thursday.

Part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivation for sending his forces into Ukraine stemmed from the prospect of the former Soviet Republicanjoining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and posing a threat to Moscow. The United States is a member of NATO.

Marshall also characterized the Biden administration as too slow to respond with weaponry to help the Ukrainian resistance.

“America, the rest of the world, is only doing 10% of what we could be doing,” he said. “(The Ukrainians) need anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down helicopters, to shoot down jets. They need the missile interceptors. And they're just going to need food and water, the basic necessities, fuel.”

He said President Biden needs to impose tougher sanctions on the Russian government, and secondary sanctions on individuals and corporations conducting business with Moscow.

Marshall said the Russian economy is in “freefall” and that could hamper the country’s ability to fund the war.

“We can push Russian troops out of Ukraine,” he said. “We can starve them out.”

The conservative Republican said sanctions imposed on Russia by Washington should kick in sooner. Some won’t take hold for months.

His comments came after visiting Eastern Europe earlier this week, talking with Ukrainian refugees in Poland and consulting with government officials in the region. He said Russian aggression has created a new unity among NATO countries.

“The buzz of Germany was the reengagement in this transatlantic partnership. The rebirth of NATO,” he said. “I’m telling you, this is a huge flip.”

In the same interview, Marshall also signaled that he’s unlikely to vote for U.S. Appeal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. He echoed criticisms of conservative Republicans in the Senate such as Missouri’s Josh Hawley and Texas’ Ted Cruz that she had been too soft on child pornography sentencing when she was a trial judge.

“She certainly has a very tall hill to climb and in my eyes,” Marshall said. “She's very weak on crime.”

Most media analyses found that the judge’s sentencing practices fall in line with her peers on the bench. Marshall said he’d announce his vote on her appointment later this week.

Scott Canon is managing editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. You can reach him on Twitter @ScottCanon or email scott (at) kcur (dot) org.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link toksnewsservice.org.

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