Pence predicts Putin will target a NATO country if he's successful in Ukraine

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called on House lawmakers to help push forward further funding for Ukraine, predicting Russian President Vladimir Putin will target a NATO nation should Russia win its war with Kyiv.

“I have no doubt in my mind having met Vladimir Putin that if Putin were allowed to overrun Ukraine, it would not be long before he crossed the border of a NATO country where our men and women in uniform would be required to fight,” Pence said Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

He said this would force U.S. troops into the conflict under Article 5, a principle that states any attack on a NATO member in Europe or North America “shall be considered an attack against them all.”

The House is facing mounting pressure to pass further funding for Ukraine as divisions among lawmakers stall aid for the war-torn nation.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is attempting to move forward a series of foreign aid bills that would include funding for Ukraine, Israel, allies in the Indo-Pacific and other national security priorities. Votes on separate portions of the package are expected by this weekend.

Some members of the House’s right flank have already expressed opposition to the bills, arguing funding should be allocated towards U.S.-southern border security provisions.

“I would just say to my colleagues on Capitol Hill, my old friends, that now’s a moment where the United States of America needs to square our shoulders, we need to recognize we are the leader of the free world,” Pence said Thursday.

“And we need to step into this moment, send a deafening message, not just to Russia and Vladimir Putin…but also renew our support to our cherished ally Israel, support Tawain and also send a very clear message to the mullahs in Tehran and frankly, to President Xi Jinping in Beijing that America is going to stand firm for freedom,” he continued.

Pence applauded Johnson’s push for foreign aid even in the wake of an ouster threat from some right-wing members of his conference.

“And I think what the American people will witness here is nothing short of moral courage here. Speaker Mike Johnson has decided to do what he believes is right and trust the American people with the outcome in this moment. And I commend him for that,” he said.

Pence, who was a Republican presidential candidate at the time, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last June during a surprise trip to the Eastern European country. He has repeatedly vocalized support for Ukraine in contrast to his former boss and 2024 GOP presumptive nominee, former President Trump, who has argued he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours if elected president.

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