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DeSantis calls Putin a "war criminal" who must be "held accountable"

Axios World logo: MainLogo Axios World 3/22/2023 Shawna Chen
© Provided by Axios Sneak Peek

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" in a new interview with with British journalist Piers Morgan airing on Fox News.

Why it matters: The potential 2024 presidential contender's comments are in stark contrast to statements made by former President Trump, who last year called Putin "genius" and "very savvy" for recognizing two breakaway "republics" in eastern Ukraine as independent.

What they're saying: In the interview airing Thursday, Morgan asked DeSantis if Putin should be held responsible for war crimes and genocidal activity in Ukraine.

  • "I think he is a war criminal ... I do think that that he should be held accountable," DeSantis replied.
  • "I think he's got grand ambitions. I think he's hostile to the United States," he continued.
  • "We'll see what ends up happening with his longevity in power. But ... this has been a loss for them."

Of note: Trump has escalated attacks on DeSantis in recent months as it became clear the latter held a substantial bloc of conservative voters and could win the GOP nomination for the presidency.

Go deeper: The deepening GOP divide on Ukraine

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