Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) downplayed Russia’s threats against the European counties while criticizing President Joe Biden for his trip to Kyiv.

DeSantis called Russia’s army “third-rate,” claiming Putin doesn’t have the military power to make further power grabs in the region.

DeSantis is rumored to be close to announcing his candidacy for president in the coming months. The Florida governor has been polling better than former President Donald Trump since the November 2022 midterm elections.

The comments about Russia continue DeSantis’ push to draw a stark divide in his policies with the Biden administration’s.

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“The fear of Russia going into NATO countries and all that and steamrolling, you know, that has not even come close to happening,” DeSantis said on Fox and Friends. “I think they’ve shown themselves to be a third-rate military power.”

DeSantis claims that the Biden administration has given Ukrainian officials a “blank check” and ignored domestic responsibilities.

“He’s very concerned about those borders halfway around the world. He’s not done anything to secure our own border here at home,” DeSantis said, referencing the US-Mexico border.

Biden administration officials have countered the narrative, pointing out that Congress appropriates all funding.

“There have been no blank checks,” John Kirby, the White House National Security Council spokesperson, said on Fox News Sunday. “Every single item that we have sent in to Ukraine has been done in full consultation with the Congress.”

DeSantis’ certainty about Russia’s waning military ambitions is not shared by most European states. Moldova, a small country neighboring Ukraine, has faced repeated threats of Russian interference since the Ukrainian invasion. Moldova’s government resigned earlier this month following Russian threats.

Moldova’s parliament approved a new pro-Western Prime Minister after President Maia Sandu said Russia wanted to stage a coup in the country.

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