Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday night he supports US aid to Ukraine and called out former President Donald Trump for his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I know that some in this debate have called the war in Ukraine a territorial dispute. It's not, it was a Russian invasion, an unprovoked Russian invasion. And I believe the United States of America needs to continue to provide the courageous soldiers in Ukraine with the resources they need to repel that Russian invasion and restore their territorial integrity," he said in response to a question from Michael Banks, a Republican voter.
Pence's remarks put him in stark contrast with Trump, who — during his town hall — would not say whether he wanted Ukraine to win the war. The former president glossed over the question when asked in May.
“I want everybody to stop dying. They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying,” Trump said at CNN’s town hall moderated by CNN's Kaitlan Collins. “And I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
Pence, for his part, took a defiant tone about Russia and Putin, saying he has spoken to the Russian leader, looked him in the eye and told him things he did not want to hear.
"Anybody that thinks Vladimir Putin will stop if he overruns Ukraine has what we say back in Indiana 'another thing coming.' He has no intention of stopping. He's made it clear that he wants to recreate that old Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe," he said.
Pence then admonished Trump for calling Putin a genius in February on a conservative radio show.
"Well, and frankly, when Vladimir Putin rolled into Ukraine, the former president called him a genius. I know the difference between a genius and a war criminal, and I know who needs to win in the war in Ukraine, and it's the people fighting for their freedom and fighting to restore their national sovereignty in Ukraine. And America, it's not our war, but freedom is our fight, and we need to give the people of Ukraine the ability to fight and defend their territory," Pence said.