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Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a hearing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) listens during a committee hearing on February 17, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

'Outrageous': Sanders Rips Trump for Praising Putin's Invasion of Ukraine

"It should concern us all that Putin is exactly the kind of leader Trump would like to be, and that so few Republicans have the courage to say this out loud," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned former President Donald Trump on Thursday for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine as "genius" and citing it as a potential model for U.S. border policy.

"It is outrageous, if unsurprising, that Trump would praise Putin's murderous invasion of Ukraine as an act of 'genius,'" Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday as Russian forces continued their assault on the neighboring country of 44 million, sparking fears of mass displacement, death, and potential nuclear catastrophe.

"It may well kill thousands and displace millions. It could plunge Europe into long-term economic and political instability."

"It should concern us all that Putin is exactly the kind of leader Trump would like to be," Sanders added, "and that so few Republicans have the courage to say this out loud."

Trump's comments came Tuesday after Putin formally recognized two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent and announced the deployment of Russian troops there, a move that was seen as the start of a broader invasion despite Putin's characterization of the forces as "peacekeepers."

"I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, 'This is genius,'" Trump said in an appearance on a right-wing radio show. "Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine—of Ukraine—Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that's wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, 'It's independent,' a large section of Ukraine. I said, 'How smart is that?' And he's gonna go in and be a peacekeeper... We could use that on our southern border."

"That's the strongest peace force I've ever seen," the former president continued. "There were more army tanks than I've ever seen. They're gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here's a guy who's very savvy... I know him very well. Very, very well."

After Putin launched the far-reaching attack on Ukraine on Thursday, Trump said in a Fox News interview that "this is something that should have never happened."

Sanders, for his part, unequivocally denounced Russia's deadly land, air, and sea attack on Ukraine as "a blatant violation of international law and of basic human decency."

"It may well kill thousands and displace millions. It could plunge Europe into long-term economic and political instability," the Vermont senator said in a statement. "The United States and our allies must impose severe sanctions on Vladimir Putin and his fellow oligarchs."

"At a time when thousands may die as a result of his war, Putin, one of the richest people in the world, should not be allowed to enjoy the billions he stole from the Russian people," Sanders added. "The United States must also work closely with international partners to provide humanitarian relief for the Ukrainian people."

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