JD Vance says Ukraine should cede land and cut a deal with Putin to end the war

WASHINGTON — Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, on Monday dismissed fears of Russia’s military capabilities under President Vladimir Putin and suggested Ukraine should give up some of its land to end the war.

“If you look at the size of the Russian armed forces, if you look at what would be necessary to conquer all of Ukraine, much less to go further and further west into Europe, I don’t think the guy’s shown any capacity to be able to accomplish these, these imperialistic goals, assuming that he has them,” Vance told reporters.

Vance also reiterated that he believes “there will be negotiation” and Ukraine should be willing to give up at least some of its territory to end the war, which began in February 2022.

“It ends the way nearly every single war has ever ended: when people negotiate and each side gives up something that it doesn’t want to give up,” Vance said.

“No one can explain to me how this ends without some territorial concessions relative to the 1991 boundaries,” he added.

A day earlier, Vance said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was in “America’s best interest … to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets Tuesday with members of Congress on Capitol Hill, where he’ll press for more U.S. aid.

Vance and other Republicans have opposed the aid package proposed by President Joe Biden, which includes aid for Ukraine and Israel and funding for border operations. Republicans have insisted that the funding be dependent on implementing tougher U.S. border policies.

Other Republicans have previously argued that aiding Ukraine isn’t in the U.S.’s national interest.

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, wrote in March before he walked back the comments and called Putin a war criminal.

In September, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida authored an amendment to a defense funding bill that would have prohibited military assistance to Ukraine. The amendment failed, but not without getting 93 Republican votes.

Vance was asked Monday whether he believes the U.S. should uphold Article 5 if a NATO ally were attacked. Article 5 contends that an attack on one NATO county amounts to an attack on all NATO countries.

“I think that if a NATO ally is attacked, we have to honor that commitment,” Vance said. “I don’t see any, any plausible argument that Vladimir Putin is going to attack a NATO ally.”