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Kaine speaks out on Ukraine, the Mountain Valley Pipeline and courageous cops at the Capitol

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine says the U.S. should not recognize Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine says the U.S. should not recognize Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has called for referenda in four occupied parts of Ukraine – vowing to annex them if the popular vote is in favor, but Virginia’s Senator Tim Kaine has introduced a bill barring the U.S. from recognizing Russian claims on those areas.

“Because it’s a complete sham," he explains. "A referendum when somebody’s got a gun stuck in your face and is telling you how to vote is not a referendum. They have underestimated Ukraine’s resolve. They’ve underestimated western unity, and they’re going to try to do things like this, but we just have tokeep the pressure on.”

Kaine also said he is taking veiled threats of a nuclear response seriously, but he does not think Putin will go that route.

“We don’t think that would be a calculation, because any use of nuclear weapons in that theater would have such fall-out effect on Russian populations and would lead to a response that would be much worse than anything they can do," he told RadioIQ. "We don’t think they’ll do it, but we have to take it seriously.”

On the domestic front, Kaine said he’s lobbying fellow senators to remove a provision of the federal permitting reform bill that would ensure completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

“It’s touch and go right now. It was on a fast track to being in, and I definitely have helped destabilize the fast track. I just don’t support taking Mountain Valley and saying it doesn’t have to go through any permitting.”

President Biden promised Congress would consider that idea in exchange for West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Kaine was also on hand at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics to recognize Capitol police officers for their work on January 6th when right-wing extremists invaded.

“The violence against the police officers that day was atrocious. More than 100 officers were injured that day. I saw some of them. They’d be sprayed with bear spray in the face. Their faces were swollen, and some officers lost their lives – one from an injury on that day and then two to suicide shortly thereafter.”

And, he noted, they displayed courage in offering public testimony against those who tried to seize power.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief