Anti-war advocate — and longtime libertarian thorn in the side of the Republican Party — Ron Paul spoke out Friday about the Malaysian jet that was shot down over Ukraine.
His verdict: don't blame Russia.
"[Russina President Vladimir] Putin is a little bit smarter than that," the former Texas Congressman told Newsmax on Friday. "I don't think he would ever come close to participating in an act like this."
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 17: Debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is shown smouldering in a field July 17, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine near the Russian border. Flight 370, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying 295 passengers and crew, is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile, according to U.S. intelligence officials Ukrainian authorities quoted in published reports. The area is under control of pro-Russian militias. Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Paul urged caution in assessing the situation.
"Under these circumstances, it's very difficult to get the real information so everybody's angling to propagandize and make their position known," he said. "It'd be unwise to say, well, the Russians did it, or the Ukrainian government did it, or the rebels did it."
The weaponry used to shoot down the plane may well have come from Russian sources, Paul admitted, but he said the intervention of big governments into conflicts around the world often produces unintended consequences.
"That may well be true, but guess what, ISIS [the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq] has a lot of American weapons," Paul said. "We sent weapons into Syria to help the rebels and al-Qaida ends up getting it — it doesn't mean that our American government and Obama deliberately wanted ISIS to get American weapons."
The Russian government-backed news outlet Russia Today seized on Paul's statements Saturday, trumpeting his call for caution — just a day after an RT journalist resigned, claiming the news outlet was “spreading lies” for Putin by trying to pin the blame for the downed jet on Ukraine.
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