During the questioning, Paul asked whether the U.S. pushing Ukraine to join NATO played a role.
Paul was brought under scrutiny for this question by those who interpreted his argument as a justification for the invasion of Ukraine.
Kelsey Cooper, Paul’s communications director, explained his comments further:
“While there is no justification for Putin’s war on Ukraine, there is an explanation for the invasion, which was the point Dr. Paul was making.”
“Any other interpretation of the exchange is a blatant attempt to misinform,” Cooper claimed.
“As Dr. Paul has expressed publicly many times before, he has a great deal of sympathy for Ukraine, and clearly stated his support for them in his exchange today, saying: ‘I’m proud of how well the Ukrainians have fought, I’m supportive of their cause.’”
A clip from the exchange went viral, where Paul stated “you could also argue that he countries [Russia has] attacked were part of Russia,” before correcting himself to say “part of the Soviet Union.”
“I firmly disagree with that proposition,” Blinken replied. “It is the fundamental right of these countries to decide their own future and their own destiny.”
In total, the exchange was about seven minutes long, but the 39 second clip was condemned by critics.
Charles Booker, who is running as a Democrat running against Paul in the midterms, accused the senator of being a “puppet, essentially, for Vladmir Putin.”