After hearing from Ukrainian President Zelensky in a virtual meeting with US lawmakers on Saturday, Senator Joe Manchin reiterated his support for separating Russia’s oil sector from the United States and said he would not take the option. of a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “off the table.”
Manchin called the Zoom meeting with Zelensky “surreal,” saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “all [Zelensky] basically asked, help me. I will fight my own theft, just give me the tools to do it, and for us to hesitate, for anyone to hesitate in the free world, that’s wrong.”
Pressed specifically on Zelensky’s demand for a no-fly zone, something senior US and NATO officials have pushed back, Manchin said: “I wouldn’t take anything off the table, but I would say very clearly that we let’s support the Ukrainian people.”
Manchin pointed out that the Ukrainian president also asked Western countries to help him send more planes to his country to fight Russia.
“Zelensky has made it very clear that we don’t need you to fight our fight. We don’t need you to fly our planes or fly your planes in our war zone. we can fly ourselves, and we have them on the border,” he said.
The West Virginia Democrat again voiced his support for banning Russian oil imports, saying his constituents think “it’s fundamentally insane for us to keep buying stuff and giving away profits, giving away money to Putin so that he can use it against the Ukrainian people”.
A little more context: Manchin and Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday to cut Russian oil and boost U.S. domestic production to compensate.
Addressing the potential economic impact of the move, Manchin said gas prices were already high and “it wasn’t because of that.”
“Inflation has already taken its toll now, and basically we’re going to say we’re going to sit down now because we’re afraid it’s going to go up a little bit more, it’s going to go up anyway. We don’t “We haven’t done anything. I’m ready to do at least something,” he said, adding that he thinks the United States can both increase domestic energy production and switch to a technology cleaner fuel at the same time.
Asked about the effect of the war in Europe on his party’s approach to its climate agenda, part of President Biden’s social spending plan that Manchin effectively blocked last year, he replied: “I think it makes us more realistic. We keep talking about these ambitious things that we want to do, whether it’s the far left or the far right, whatever it is, forget the aspiration.
“Our energy that we produce in America is better and cleaner than anywhere else in the world, so whatever we backfill will be better than what they produce,” he said.
Manchin said no formal discussions are taking place right now on Biden’s spending plan.