Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) this week defended Russia's annexation of Crimea, saying the United States “should be pleased” that the takeover was a “virtually bloodless transfer of power.”
In this Sept. 5, 2013 file photo, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., arrives to join lawmakers and national security officials at the Capitol for a closed-door briefing on the situation in Syria, in Washington (AP)
The Democratic firebrand, known for his incendiary rhetoric and pugnacious debate style, called Crimea's vote to join Russia completely legitimate.
Russian troops, Grayson said, are only in Crimea to ensure Ukrainians don't interfere with the will of nearly 2 million people who had grown tired of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
“You may say that [Yanukovych] was thrown out of office for good reason. There are allegations against him that he was corrupt, there are allegations against him that he used the military against his own people to stay in power,” Grayson said during Tuesday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on a bill to provide aid to Ukraine. “But the fact is that from the perspective of the Crimeans, their leader, the one that they placed in charge of their country, was thrown out of power.”
“So it should come as no surprise … that the Crimeans had had enough, and they wanted to leave this artificial entity called the Ukraine,” he added.
Grayson continued, addressing Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.
“Now, in fact, the Russians did assist, they assisted by disarming the local Ukrainian army and navy. That’s what they did. They did it virtually bloodlessly. They did this so that the Ukrainian army and navy could not interfere with the referendum that was held. That’s the fact of the matter,” Grayson said.
“Why are we pretending otherwise? Why are we speaking about naked aggression, why are we speaking about stealing Crimea, why are we speaking about bullying, or the new Soviet Union, or thuggery, or audacious power-grabbing, or bully bear Putin, or Cold War two?” he said.
Grayson contended that Russia’s actions in Crimea do not, in fact, mark the start of a new Cold War.
“In fact it’s quite the contrary. We should be pleased to see, pleased to see, when a virtually bloodless transfer of power establishes self-determination for 2 million people somewhere in the world, anywhere in world,” he said.
But rather than being pleased, he said, we’re instead seeing the “vilification” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yanukovych and “anybody that we try to identify as our enemy.”
“The basic principle here is self determination,” Grayson condluded. “That’s what’s happened in the Crimea, and it’s not for us to determine otherwise.”
(H/T: The Daily Caller)
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