Candace Owens — a right-wing political commentator who is prominent in circles close to Trump and has even interviewed the former president — is among those on the Right pushing what amount to conspiracy theories regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman put the conspiracy nuts in their place this week. Owens blamed the West for Russian aggression against Ukraine, which recently reached the point of troop deployments into Ukrainian regions getting announced by Russia. As Owens put it, she suggests that “every American who wants to know what’s *actually* going on in Russia and Ukraine, read this transcript of Putin’s address [at a United Nations meeting]. As I’ve said for [months]— NATO (under direction from the United States) is violating previous agreements and expanding eastward. WE are at fault.” Vindman wasn’t impressed. As he replied on Twitter:
‘So you’re sticking with your conspiracy theory M.O.?’
So you’re sticking with your conspiracy theory M.O.? https://t.co/bPdbC2ZCHi
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) February 22, 2022
Whether and under what conditions that NATO would expand have been points of contention between the United States and Russia for some time, although there doesn’t actually appear to be any clear-cut agreement that the alliance wouldn’t grow, as Owens insists. She is not the only prominent right-winger essentially taking Russia’s side amid this controversy, however — Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also recently wrote to the Biden administration to seriously question longstanding U.S. support for the eventual admission of Ukraine into NATO, and prominent Fox host Tucker Carlson, whose show is seen by millions of people, has similarly cast NATO and those behind it as at least partly at fault here. Carlson asked viewers to “imagine if Mexico fell under the direct military control of China — we would see that as a threat, of course. That’s how Russia views NATO control of Ukraine. Why wouldn’t they?” NATO doesn’t “control” its members.
Biden: "This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine…so I am going to begin to impose sanctions in response, far beyond" anything implemented in 2014. And if Russia continues its invasion sanctions will go even further, Biden says.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) February 22, 2022
In contrast to these right-wing figureheads, Biden and his administration are remaining firmly on the side of those in Ukraine trying to protect their territorial integrity — meaning trying to beat back Russian aggression. As Biden recently put it, “Nations have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. They have the freedom to set their own course and choose with whom they will associate. But that still leaves plenty of room for diplomacy and for de-escalation… As long as there is hope of diplomatic resolution that prevents the use of force and avoids incredible human suffering that would follow, we will pursue it.” The president made these remarks before Russia rolled out its military presence plans for those regions of Ukraine. The Biden administration has since unveiled sanctions targeting the Russian government’s financial transactions and more, and Biden also said this week that he’d “authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.”
Breaking News: President Biden announced strong new sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” https://t.co/59zDRTZo4G
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 22, 2022