With the war in Ukraine about to enter its third year, U.S. Sen. Angus King warned Sunday that if the United States does not continue to support the country against Russia, it would be “the greatest geopolitical mistake this country has made in generations, and it will haunt this country for 50 years.”

Congress Guns

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Associated Press, file

King, I-Maine, appeared on “CBS Sunday Morning” almost two years after Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022.

King is a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, and is an ardent supporter of a $95.34 billion military aid package for Ukraine and other U.S. allies. He has traveled to Ukraine and met with its leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking in the Senate floor earlier this month to defend the package, King warned that history is watching. “When the history of the day is written, as it surely will be, do you really want to be recorded as being on the side of Vladimir Putin? All those in favor of Putin, say aye,” King said.

“CBS Sunday Morning” national security correspondent David Martin asked King what would happen if Congress does not approve the aid package to Ukraine. King said the country would fall under Russian rule, and possibly quickly.

There would be one of two results, he said. “Russia will just take over and the Ukrainian people’s desire for freedom and democracy is gone. The other option is that it turns into a sort of guerrilla war, where Ukrainians are fighting from behind trees and buildings.”


When asked if he believed the front lines in Ukraine would collapse, King said “that’s a distinct possibility,” and without U.S. aid that could happen by summer.

More than 300 people were detained in Russia over the weekend as they paid tribute to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died at a remote Arctic penal colony last week, the Associated Press reported. The sudden death of Navalny, 47, was a crushing blow to many in Russia. He was Putin’s most high-profile critic, and had survived nerve agent poisoning and been sentenced to multiple prison terms in Russia.

King was the only member of Congress interviewed on the broadcast about the two-year anniversary of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The program also featured the Academy Award-nominated documentary “20 Days in Mariupol” and interviews with injured Ukrainian soldiers.

King has urged Senate colleagues not to allow Putin to win in Ukraine, and compared it to the world’s failure to stop Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany years before the onset of World War II.

The Democratic-led Senate passed the aid bill 70-29 before dawn Tuesday after a group of Republicans spent the night trying to block it. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was among 22 Republicans who voted to approve the aid package.

However, the Republican-majority House isn’t expected to take up President Biden’s aid funding request for weeks.

King has said that by providing needed aid to Ukraine as it fights for freedom “against Putin’s brutal dictatorship, we are demonstrating our commitment to freedom, sovereignty and democracy at home and abroad.” Ukraine is fighting a war that “can stop Putin in his tracks before he attempts to invade our NATO allies.”

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