Sen. Marco Rubio Questions What US Does If Ukraine Ceasefire Fails

GOP senator seeks alternatives to stabilize the Ukraine-Russia conflict if Minsk agreement fails or is further violated.
7:47 | 03/11/15

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Transcript for Sen. Marco Rubio Questions What US Does If Ukraine Ceasefire Fails
Secretary new Linden your statement you outline our goal as threefold first we want peace. Then political normalization and ultimately return to borders which Imad includes Crimea while. The question I have is how realistic and hope is that Minsk would offer that promise with peace coming first is that precondition for all these things to be possible. The question that I have is how realistic. Is that goal. Given the goals that Putin has himself. I think the goal thing you dispute this. I think the gall who adheres to basically it's not just about Ukraine's buck completely reorganize in the post Cold War post Soviet era. Order in Europe. And that's not just about Ukraine and in that context that's what he wants to weaken and divide and perhaps even force NATO to fall apart. Factories question why we've in the NATO anymore so this is no more Soviet Union. As part of furthering our goal he's openly said that they believe they meet this that was sphere of influence and not just throughout the former Soviet space. But also and former or Warsaw pack type countries. This whole talk about protecting Russian speakers is just an excuse that he puts out there as a justification. For the international community. From moving forward but ultimately there their goal the Altima goal here is to carve out to reorder the post Soviet. Order in the region and to carve out for Russia a strategic space that there for themselves of influence. And so in light of that why should we have any hope that these cease fires are actually gonna hold. Given Leno has ultimate goal now he may agreed to a temporary cease fire at the tactical move maybe hopefully just let us off from the Europeans. And essence hoping for us and maybe that's why there's been arguments that we shouldn't go on sanctions alone because it costs friction with the European Union and split us from them. In that regard but at the end of the day he may agree to a cease fire temporarily either to consolidate gains they've already made. Or to perhaps try to create a point of friction between hoping it will jump out ahead of the Europeans and create that is the division but alternately his goal. Unquestionably. Used it completely rearrange the order in this area and carve out for Russia. A sphere of influence so White House even realistic given knowing that about him. To think that he's ever going to allow stabilization to return to Ukraine. And he's ever gonna return back to their borders given we know what their goals I mean if one he's a criminal thug. He's also very determined one who has shown a willingness to act out in furtherance of the strategic goal. So why should I feel optimistic that there's any chance of that happening given. Given the goal he has now unless the cost benefit analysis changed for him. Senator I'm not in a dispute any of your analysis I'm simply gonna say that Minsk is test. For Russia Russia signed the separatist signed it. It's also a choice for Russia it fully implemented it would bring back. Sovereignty and territorial integrity in the east it doesn't obviously address Crimea. So now we have to test and as I said at the beginning of the record is already mixed today and we have to be ready. Both for. The opportunity for success but also to impose more costs significant costs on Russia with our European partners. If Minsk is violated either because. The agreement's not implemented or because there's a further land grant or because the separatists are further on and that's who were watching. So in furtherance of that question if in fact this is tasked what is wrong would now laying out clearly exactly what we're going to do that test is failed and essence. If this test fails we're gonna arm the ukrainians. With the but by the way. As a sovereign country Ukraine has a right to defend itself not just against Russian aggression separatist aggression than any aggression and in fact we're trying to. To strengthen. The the the writ of that. Government as part of that is aligned and to provide for their own defense. But so we should be doing that anyways but. Is is that the position of the administration ever gonna lay out a clear picture hopefully with our European partners about what the specific sanctions will be. And what specific military aid will provide of Russia fails the man's ex test. Senator I think in my opening I made clear that we are working now with the Europeans to lay out concrete sanctions costs that Minsk not implemented or further violated. We generally don't signal does in advance but we make clear that we are prepared and that's what were working on. With regard to security assistance we are continuing to evaluate that based on the situation on the ground in implementation of men spoke very much it part of that. Can you comment on whether denying Russia access to the swift system as something that's been discussed. We actually generally don't discuss in in public forum any specific measures. While we discuss a whole range of things as were evaluating it we look at both the impact it would have on Russia. As well as the spill overs that it would have on the global economy the United States and our European partners but I want to comment on any specific action. Irrespective my last question I guess this is more of a and of that. Maybe an unexpected comment on this but. Irrespective of whether Russia adheres to Minsk or not. Is it not if in fact we want to stabilize Ukraine isn't part of that stabilization to give them the ability. To defend themselves in the future from any other aggression and may exist in essence there are other countries that haven't been invaded. Who we provide military assistance to in defense assistance to because we understand the absence of it invites. Aggression in the future. I just wanna know why is that a bad idea to provide them defense this is than your respective and I know that's being reviewed that Mike is there an argument to be made against. Providing defensive weapons to a country irrespective of how the cease fire turns out. Since we're trying to help them stabilize their government and as part of that it has to be ability to provide for their national defense. As senator rubio would as you know we have provided a range of security assistance in the nonlethal categories which have met real Ukrainian security requirements. Because the armed forces were. Not fully stripped bare but there are left rather lacking -- the corruption of the last regime. And I expect long past this crisis we'll have a defense partnership with. The government of Ukraine. But at present time as he is assistant secretary Neal and sent. Defense of lethal option if weapons are being reviewed but it's not them in on offer at present time. And my last question is. I've heard some commentary that even among Putin's critics within Russia's. There are those who do not support giving defensive weapons to Ukraine because ultimately that would lead to the death of Russians. And they can't support that I read that yesterday I think the Washington Post reporter there had some commentary from some of Putin's. Opponents say here's my question in their Putin says there are no Russian troops. In Ukraine therefore if we provided. If that's true he has nothing to worry about nine. A sunny clear in my opening. Not only to we believe that there are Russian forces in Ukraine believes that they are. Responsible for command and control arming financing directing this conflict we also believe that there are. Many hundreds of Russian dead in Ukraine and that it does pose a vulnerability for. The Kremlin politically at home because they are tonight Mary an act that. So just one quick point I read in a statement maybe you didn't say this publicly because you had to shorten your statement. Is it not accurate that as these coffins are returning in these bodies are returning to Russia. Russian families of the dead soldiers are being told not to comment on it or they'll be denied death the essence yes and I did say that publicly thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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