U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Sunday he thinks the United States should send weapons to Ukraine so it can defend itself from a Russian invasion.
â€œI think Americans are so far removed from this,” Rogers, speaking from Tbilisi, Georgia, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “We need to reengage with what is actually happening.”
According to the Republican congressman, intelligence officials believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not done” in Ukraine.
“It is very troubling,” Rogers said. “He has put all the military units he would need to move into Ukraine on its eastern border and is doing exercises. We see him moving forces in the south in a position where they could take the southern region. […] And we see that he’s actually working what they call soft power.”
Putin, Rogers said, “goes to bed at night thinking of Peter the Great and he wakes up thinking of Stalin. We need to understand who he is and what he wants.”
President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Europe later Sunday to unify support against the Russian president.
“There are things that we can do that I think weâ€™re not doing,” Rogers said. “I donâ€™t think the rhetoric [from the Obama administration] matches the reality on the ground.”
Rogers said that while he does not support the deployment of U.S. military troops in Ukraine, the United States should “offer them things that they can use to really protect and defend themselves.”
“We’re not talking about even complicated weapon systems,” he continued. “We’re talking about small arms so they can protect themselves. Maybe medical supplies, radio equipment, things that they can use to protect themselves, defensive-posture weapon systems.”
Rogers suggests sending supplies Ukraine “in conjunction with sanctions” against Russia.
“We need to be a little bit tougher with Putin,” Rogers added, “or he is going to continue to take territory to fulfill what he believes is rightfully Russia.”